OhioHealth Shares How It Serves Pregnant and Parenting Teens
- Tweet This Parenting teens are more likely to experience rapid, repeat pregnancy.
- Tweet This Patient-centered programs that bring services to the home and offer transportation can help reduce teen pregnancy.
- Tweet This Motivational interviewing and contraceptive access can help teens explore their goals and avoid repeat pregnancy.
- Tweet This Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) can help reduce teen pregnancy, including repeat teen pregnancy.
Efforts are currently underway to help pregnant and parenting teens end the cycle of teen pregnancy. Meet the OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute (OHRI) and their Teen Options to Prevent Pregnancy (TOPP) Program, funded through the Family and Youth Services Bureau's (FYSB'S) Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies (PREIS) grant program. OHRI, a faith-based health care organization out of Ohio, implemented this clinic-based intervention to reduce rapid repeat pregnancies among low-income adolescent mothers.
Recently, we spoke with TOPP staff and participants to find out why this program works. They share the importance of "dealing with the whole teenager," that is, helping these teens identify their goals, achieve self-sufficiency, access housing and financial stability, acquire successful parenting skills, and establish healthy relationships.
Watch OhioHealth Share Its Story
Reducing Rapid, Repeat Teen Pregnancy
According to Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu, TOPP Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, TOPP focuses on reducing rapid repeat pregnancies because 30% of pregnant teens will have a subsequent pregnancy within 18 months. Additional pregnancy introduces additional risk.
"It increases the risk of pre-maturity, stillbirth, and the risk that these teenagers will not complete their education," said Dr. Osuagwu. "The children of these teenagers are also not ready for school."
Over the past 5 years, the TOPP Program has combined motivational interviewing and contraceptive access to help make it easier for teens to prevent a repeat pregnancy. Teen parents want to do what is right for their children, and through motivational interviewing, TOPP helps teens come up with their own plan for the future. Nurse educators actually bring services and contraceptives to the teen’s home to reduce barriers to access. They also provide transportation to and from clinic and hospital visits, which helps teens get into care and helps staff build a rapport with teens.
"I really value that time with them," said TOPP Nurse Educator Angie Taylor. "It's also a nice time to be able to provide education."
Evidence of Success
The program has received a positive response from participants. Lesly Perez, one of the adolescents who participated in the program, liked being able to confide in a nurse educator and felt she received good advice.
“To be honest, I would have probably had my second child already, so they've been a lot of help,” said Perez.
Evaluation data also show promising results. OhioHealth conducted a randomized controlled trial with 600 participants to test the efficacy of the program. According to an April 2016 HHS evidence review, an evaluation found that TOPP participants were more likely to report using a highly effective long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) method, and less likely to report having sex in the past 3 months. Participants also reported greater access to contraceptive services.
What You Can Do
We can learn a lot from what TOPP has accomplished. Do the following to bolster your own work to help pregnant and parenting teens:
- Build critical staff relationships: TOPP’s success is built on a team of nurse educators, clinicians, and access to social services.
- Promote better relationships with home visits: TOPP staff felt that making home visits helped them learn more about the day-to-day life of their participants.
- Provide easy access to services and a great deal of support to teens: TOPP went beyond just education about contraceptives. They drove patients to clinics and hospitals. They supported young parents by partnering with them to create youth-driven plans for the future.
Go a step further. Download this tip sheet and talk with your team about how you can better support pregnant and parenting teens.