AAP: Pregnant teenagers require unbiased, wide ranging care
With over 500,000 adolescent girls becoming pregnant annually, the need for unprejudiced, wide ranging and developmentally appropriate counsel from a pediatrician is essential, according to a policy statement made by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Given the prevalence of teenaged pregnancy, a pediatrician is likely to make the diagnosis of pregnancy in a patient several times during his or her career,” said Laurie L. Hornberger, MD, MPH, FAAP, from the division of adolescent medicine at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, and colleagues from the AAP Committee on Adolescence, wrote. “With expertise in adolescent development and experience working with families, the pediatrician is the most appropriate health care provider to counsel the pregnant adolescent about pregnancy options and support her in the decision-making process.”
According to Hornberger and colleagues, the approaches suggested have not been altered since the original policy statement made by the AAP in 1989.
The researchers suggest that all legal options should be discussed, including carrying the pregnancy to delivery and raising the infant, carrying the pregnancy to delivery and making adoption or kinship care plans or terminating the pregnancy. Additionally, the psychosocial development of the patient needs to be considered when discussing options, and limitations for abstract and future thinking should be appreciated.
Read the full Healio article to learn the steps Hornberger and colleagues recommend pediatricians take to ensure pregnant teenage patients are informed and counseled appropriately.
Learn more about the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Mercy.