Healthy Pregnancy in Teens: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Your health in the early weeks of your pregnancy is very important for your baby's health. Take good care of yourself. Anything you do that harms your body can also harm your baby.

Eating right is especially important while you're pregnant. Follow the healthy eating and lifestyle guidelines your doctor gives you. Dieting is never a good idea while you're pregnant.

You may have a lot of different feelings about being pregnant and about dealing with pregnancy symptoms, like gaining weight and seeing your body change. You might feel isolated and alone sometimes. Talk with your doctor about getting the help you need through teen counseling or a support group.

Make sure to go to all of your doctor appointments. Regular checkups will help keep you and your baby healthy.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?


  • Choose healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Choose foods that are good sources of calcium, iron, and folate. You can try dairy products, dark leafy greens, fortified orange juice and cereals, almonds, broccoli, dried fruit, and beans.
  • Do not skip meals or go for many hours without eating. If you feel sick to your stomach, try to eat a small, healthy snack every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Avoid fish that are high in mercury. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, and bigeye tuna, as well as tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.
  • It's okay to eat up to 8 to 12 ounces a week of fish that are low in mercury or up to 4 ounces a week of fish that have medium levels of mercury. Some fish that are low in mercury are salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, cod, and tilapia. Some fish that have medium levels of mercury are halibut and white albacore tuna.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Limit caffeine to about 200 to 300 mg per day. On average, a cup of brewed coffee has around 80 to 100 mg of caffeine.
  • Take a multivitamin that contains folic acid to help prevent birth defects. Fortified cereal and whole wheat bread are good additional sources of folic acid.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood. Heat all deli meats, hot dogs, refrigerated meat spreads, and refrigerated smoked seafood to 165°F before eating. Do not eat or drink raw or unpasteurized dairy products and fruit juices. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. Thoroughly cook all sprouts.
  • Do not eat raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheeses made with raw milk.


  • Do not smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Get plenty of rest. You may be very tired while you are pregnant.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice.
  • Do not touch cat feces or litter boxes. Also, wash your hands after you handle raw meat, and fully cook all meat before you eat it. Cat feces and raw or undercooked meat can cause an infection that may harm your baby or lead to a miscarriage.
  • Avoid things that can make your body too hot and may be harmful to your baby, such as a hot tub or sauna. Or talk with your doctor before doing anything that raises your body temperature. Your doctor can tell you if it's safe.
  • Avoid chemical fumes, paint fumes, and poisons.
  • Do not drink alcohol, such as beer, wine, or hard liquor. Don't use illegal drugs or marijuana.


  • Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking. Some of your routine medicines may need to be changed to protect your baby.
  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve minor problems, such as a mild headache or backache or a mild fever with cold symptoms. Do not use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), unless your doctor says it is okay.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

To manage morning sickness

  • Keep food in your stomach, but not too much at once. Try eating five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals.
  • For nausea when you wake up, eat a small snack, such as a couple of crackers or pretzels, before rising. Allow a few minutes for your stomach to settle before you slowly get up.
  • Try to avoid smells and foods that make you feel nauseated. High-fat or greasy foods, milk, and coffee may make nausea worse. Some foods that may be easier to tolerate include cold, spicy, sour, and salty foods.
  • Drink enough fluids. Water and other caffeine-free drinks are good choices.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins at night on a full stomach.
  • Try foods and drinks made with ginger. Ginger may help with nausea.
  • Get lots of rest. Morning sickness may be worse when you are tired.
  • Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter products, such as vitamin B6 or doxylamine, to help relieve symptoms.
  • Try a P6 acupressure wrist band. These anti-nausea wristbands help some people.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have new belly or pelvic pain.
  • You have vomiting that gets worse or continues despite home treatment.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • It hurts to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have any new symptoms, such as a fever.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.