UK HealthCast: How the Young Parents Program helps teens navigate parenthood
UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics, from how to recognize stroke symptoms to what patients need to know about clinical trials – and more.
Dr. Stephanie Stockburger, a pediatrician with Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent Medicine Clinic, recently joined us to discuss the challenges associated with teen pregnancy and how the Young Parents Program can help.
How common is teen pregnancy in Kentucky?
Although teen birth rates are decreasing overall in Kentucky and the United States, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all developed nations. Kentucky has the seventh highest teen birth rate in the United States, with about 25 teen births per 1,000 women.
What are some of the obstacles that teen parents face?
Teen pregnancy has substantial health, economic and social costs. Pregnant teenagers are more likely to have miscarriages, premature birth, maternal illnesses like preeclampsia and hypertension, stillbirth, and neonatal death, which is death after the baby is born.
Also, teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school and never return, so they are more likely to not have a high school diploma. Research suggests that teen fathers also do not receive as much education as their peers. This lack of schooling makes it more difficult for teen mothers and fathers to find and keep well-paying jobs.
There are mental health aspects to consider for teen parents. Pregnancy and parenting can strain the relationships between teen parents. Being a teen is a challenge in itself. Having a baby presents a whole new challenge. Depression is common among teen parents. They may feel guilty or anxious about the future.
Tell us about the Young Parents Program and what makes it unique.
Pregnant or parenting teens who are 20 years old or younger, as well as their children until the children are age 2 are eligible for the program. The mothers start with prenatal care at UK Women's Health Obstetrics & Gynecology.
There are several things that make this program unique. While pregnant, patients are seen by an obstetrician who is specially trained in adolescent obstetrics and gynecology. In the Adolescent Medicine Clinic, they see pediatricians who focus on the care of adolescents and teen parents. The care team includes a prenatal education coordinator, a dietician, nurses and a social worker.
Our care is focused on the needs of adolescent parents during their pregnancy and beyond. In the Adolescent Medicine Teen and Tot Clinic, parents and babies can be seen at the same time for appointment. We really want to focus on the parents' physical and mental health in addition to the baby's health.
Listen to the full podcast with Dr. Stockburger: