Teen pregnancy support group starting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mississippi now has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate, according to a new federal report released this year. More than a year ago, a preliminary report on the 2006 data revealed that the United States teen birth rate had risen for the first time in about 15 years. This report is based on a review of all the birth certificates in 2006. In 26 states there were significant increased teen birth rates.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, 17.1 percent of all births in the state were to teenagers in 2007. Mississippi’s teen birth rate for ages 15-19 was 71.8 per 1,000, compared to the national rate of 42 per 1,000 births.

Teen pregnancy knows no boundaries; it affects all races and all socioeconomic backgrounds. And of course we as parents, educators and health care providers do need to address abstinence and the prevention of teenage pregnancy.

Email newsletter signup

As a nurse educator and former obstetrical nurse, I can tell you that we also have to realize that teen pregnancy is a fact. It does happen.

An unplanned pregnancy can be very overwhelming for anyone, but it is especially difficult for a teen. A teen pregnancy is a crisis for the teen and her family. Everyone is faced with many different emotional reactions and feelings. They may feel denial, guilt, anger and even shame.

They also have many fears; fear of how their body will change, and fear of losing friends, fear of becoming a mother and fears that all hopes and dreams are gone. Teens often think that no one can help, or they are too embarrassed to search for help.

That’s where we at The Women’s Center at Natchez Regional Medical Center want to help. Prenatal care and a good support system are vital.

When a teen becomes pregnant, she deserves an honest and sensitive support system, and that is the basis for our newly formed teen pregnancy support group.

I encourage all pregnant teenagers ages 19 and under to attend our teen pregnancy support group from 5:30 to 6:30 today in the Magnolia room at the hospital.

Our goal at Natchez Regional is to reach these young moms and provide the education and support needed. These moms need to take an active role in their health and the health of their baby.

To register for the support group or for more information please call, me at 601-443-2360.

Theresa Cole is a registered nurse working at Natchez Regional Medical Center.