Although teen pregnancy rates are declining, Louisiana still ranks 44th in the nation. Parishes in Northeast Louisiana are among the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. Linda Hunt, nurse clinical case manager for AETNA Better Health, discusses common misconceptions about teen mothers and how they can manage their health throughout their pregnancies.
On the changes in teen pregnancy data in Louisiana and potential health risks
The state of Louisiana is saying that teen pregnancy rates are going down slowly. Louisiana is ranked 44thnationally. That means that there are only six states that have more teen pregnancies than Louisiana. Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, and Union parishes are some of the highest parishes in teen pregnancy rates.
Teens who become pregnant have a higher risk for medical complications. Complications such as: pre-eclampsia, hypertension, severe anemia, and pre-term birth. All of those things can have a lot of complications for the teen and their baby. It’s always a good thing – if they can – to get to a provider in the first trimester. Even with high blood pressure, if they catch it early, doctors can prescribe medication unless its something more serious. They just watch teen pregnancies more closely from the beginning – that’s why it’s so important.
On the most common misconceptions about teen pregnancy and resources for teen parents
Three misconceptions are: that they cannot continue their education after having a baby, that they’ve ruined their lives forever, and that they cannot be good mothers. They’re all false. They can all continue their education and they don’t ruin their lives. They can still go on to and be whatever they want to be. A lot of teen mothers are really good mothers. Age doesn’t make a difference.
Get to the doctors early and education. Education of the complications that they might have and the signs and symptoms of those. That’s what we do in case management. We make sure that they understand what the complications are and when they should call the doctor or go to the hospital.