How can I help improve outcomes for pregnant teenage mothers and their babies?

 

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Service managers and commissioners

Ensure that:

  • staff are educated and trained in issues around teenage pregnancy
  • services are accessible and relevant to teenage women and their partners and consistent with public sector policy commitments
  • public health campaigns highlight the importance of stopping smoking and drinking while pregnant or trying to conceive
  • relevant information resources are available.

Midwives, GPs, practice nurses

These disciplines are often a first point of contact for young pregnant mothers and should be familiar with current guidance on effective interventions.

Establishing referral pathways to specialist service providers and other sources of support for teenage mothers and their partners, including tailored intensive support for young families, voluntary sector agencies, is vital.

Wherever possible, extra effort should be made to engage with young mothers and with their partners. This should include considerations around the accessibility and suitability of antenatal parent education for young parents.

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Voluntary sector workers and managers

Voluntary sector workers often have better contacts with teenagers than statutory services. Ensure that:

  • information on supportive local services is provided
  • early contact with a GP or midwife is encouraged
  • information on the risks of smoking and substance misuse in pregnancy is provided, along with information on how to quit.

Interventions around teenage pregnancy

Services should be accessible to all pregnant women and their partners and respond to individual needs.

This approach is not stigmatising and allows for early intervention before issues become critical. Tailored support programmes may also exist locally for young mothers and their families and staff should be familiar with referral pathways.

Detailed guidance for professionals and others in Scotland (external links):

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