Original Article: http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/Personal-health/pregnancy...
Written By City of Cape Town
Being a teenager is about exploring individuality and, for many, falling in love and having sex for the first time. Teens should therefore be extra careful about contraception and making the right choices about sex.
The cost of pregnancy
We need to teach young people about their rights and responsibilities, and about how abstinence and safe sex practices can help prevent unplanned pregnancies. For teenagers who do fall pregnant, it is important they know what their options are and where to turn to for help and support. Young people who become parents too early can find themselves unable to deal with the demands of raising a child, for example:
Young women who have a baby too young are often forced to drop out of school; and it is usually more difficult to study or develop the right career or life path when good opportunities are missed earlier on.
Having a baby impacts on future plans and impacts on relationships. A teenage parent’s life plan has to be re-drawn with a baby as an important factor in the choices she makes. Even with a child care grant, young parents and families with little financial support will struggle to meet the costs of a new child. A young mother will usually still need to find work to support herself and her baby.
We’ve created a graphic booklet to show you just how much a child costs – even with the help of a child support grant. You can read or download it below.
Family planning and contraception
Our clinic staff are on hand to give guidance and advice on family planning issues and explain different methods of contraception.
Our services include:
- supplying you with certain types of contraception (injectable, oral, Implanon, IUD);
- monitoring the side effects of contraception;
- pregnancy screenings;
- referrals for terminations of pregnancy;
- sexual health screenings, including tests for sexually transmitted diseases; and
- pap smears.
We offer a range of contraceptives at our clinics across the city, including oral contraception, injectable contraception, intra-uterine devices, Implanon, sterilisation and condoms.
City support for teens
We support our youth and believe that education and compassion are the best ways to help young people make better decisions.
Our programmes aim to empower young people in Cape Town to be better equipped to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. We also work to help teach teenagers about the realities of caring for a baby.
DID YOU KNOW?
A caring city: To reach young people outside our facilities, we’ve joined forces with the community and other role-players – including principals, school governing bodies, and NGOs.
Health facilities and advice
If you are a teenager, you may find it daunting to visit a family planning clinic. City Health has been working hard to make clinics more youth-friendly to make you feel more comfortable when you visit.
Recent measures include:
- training clinic staff to be sympathetic towards young people seeking sexual health and reproductive services;
- using queue marshals to fast-track people needing family planning services;
- introducing a new appointment system, encouraging follow-up visits; and
- developing engaging educational material, available in clinic waiting areas.
City Health is also considering rolling out more stand-alone youth clinics, drawing on the success of Site B and Site C youth clinics in Khayelitsha.
Baby simulator project
Our baby simulator project is used to teach school learners about the harmful effects of alcohol and drug abuse can have on a baby, compared to a healthy baby. We have distributed four simulators to eight of our health districts: a healthy baby simulator, a substance abuse addiction simulator, a foetal alcohol simulator, and a shaken baby syndrome simulator.
How to support a teenage mother
Many pregnant teenagers lack the finances and experience to care for a baby and may feel very vulnerable. If you know a teenager who is pregnant, here are some of the things you can do to support her:
- Make an effort to offer emotional support and listen to any concerns she may have.
- If you are unable to help or lend a willing ear, refer them to a healthcare clinic for support.
- Offer to watch the baby so that she can rest or do her homework.
- Offer to help with grocery shopping, housework or cooking.
- Help young mothers to access family planning services so they don’t have a second unplanned pregnancy.
- You can also help them to apply for a child support grant if they’re eligible.
Young women who don’t have a support system or the life skills to raise a child may feel overwhelmed. Once the baby arrives, young mothers may need help with childcare. Without the proper help they may experience postnatal depression.
If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal depression, get help from Postnatal Depression Support SA. SMS “help” to 082 882 0072 and they will contact you.
Alternativaley contact Usapho for any help or support.