News | 8 Feb 2024
“I didn’t have enough knowledge about contraceptives back then.” Shares Zanele a 20-year old mother.
If you have sex, you can get pregnant – even if it’s your first time and even if you only have sex once. Contraceptives or birth control stop you from getting pregnant before you are ready to start a family. Different contraceptives options like condoms, the pill, injections, implants and emergency contraception are available for free at government clinics.
Zanele was in grade 12, just about to finish high school when she found out she was pregnant. “Becoming a mom is a big deal, and for me, it happened while I was still trying to figure out my studies and I wasn’t ready financially.” she says
The news brought a mix of emotions, from feeling scared and uncertain to a bit excited. She faced judgment from classmates, some supportive and others not so much. “Being pregnant in high school was tough. People had a lot to say, but I kept telling myself that what I did with my body was my choice,” she explains.
Zanele found out that schools are supposed to accommodate and support pregnant girls, making sure they can keep going to school without any discrimination. “Knowing that I had the right to stay in school, gave me the courage to keep going and make sure that I finish my exams.” she says, emphasising how important it is for girls like her to get an education and support.
“My aunt, was my support through it all, she told me about early antenatal care, and I went to the clinic immediately.” Early antenatal care helps monitor your health and handle potential issues for both you and your baby. It is best if you access it before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Antenatal care includes medical examinations, pregnancy tests, and screenings to ensure check the health of both you and your baby.
During your antenatal care they also do HIV test to make sure that you receive treatment immediately if positive, as well as tests for other sicknesses that may affect the baby if left untreated. At the clinic they will check blood pressure and urine for any potential issues, as well as run blood tests to determine blood group and detect low iron anemia.
“At the clinic they also advised me to eat healthy and to take prescribed vitamins.”
Healthy habits are important for expecting mothers. Maintain a nutritious diet, avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs, limit caffeine intake, engage in regular gentle exercises and consult healthcare professionals before taking any medication. Remember to take prescribed vitamins and medication regularly and attend all antennal clinic visit for a health pregnancy.
Through her story, Zanele wanted to remind others that it is important to know about the different contraceptive options, get an education, have supportive people around, and be ready emotionally and financially before becoming a mother.
“Being a mom is a journey with lots of decisions, care, and finding your inner strength. Before you choose to be a parent, make sure you are physically and financially ready for both you and your baby to have a happy life.”
If you notice any warning signs during pregnancy like a very bad headache, bad pain in the tummy, leaking fluid from the vagina (not urine), vaginal bleeding, and if you can’t feel your baby move anymore during pregnancy, seek immediate medical attention.
Get more information on pregnancy and contraception at bewisehealth.com
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