My Life, My Plan: Delaware's Reproductive Life Planning for Teens
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2012 Convention Proceedings
Volume 41, Issue s1, page S3, June 2012
How to Cite
Noyes, S. S. and Savin, M. K. (2012), My Life, My Plan: Delaware's Reproductive Life Planning for Teens. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: S3. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01358_5.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- teen pregnancy;
- reproductive life plan;
- preconception care;
- primary care
Purpose for the Program
Each year, approximately one in five teen births in Delaware are repeat births. The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data indicate that Delaware teens are more likely to have sex at an early age, have more frequent sexual activity, and have more sexual partners than teens in other states. Disparities persist, and pregnancy rates of Black teens are nearly twice as high as those of White teens. The rate of teen pregnancy among Hispanics is higher than the national average.
Preventing teen pregnancies is a key strategy in the state's overall Infant Mortality Elimination plan. The combination of resources allocated to support the fight against infant mortality has enabled the development of new programs, systems, and tools. Research concluded that adolescents and women of reproductive age needed more education about the factors that contribute to infant mortality. To facilitate positive behavior change, the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Healthy Mother & Infant Consortium needed to address motivations and barriers to healthy outcomes with a focus on the life course perspective and goal setting.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
According to Prochaska and DiClemente's Stages of Change Theory, individuals move through a continuum to change their behavior. Because adolescent females are less likely to be consciously participating in family-planning decisions, it is critical that this audience is reached during the precontemplation stage with the relevant message that motivates them to move forward toward the second stage, which is contemplation. Addressing issues earlier in the continuum, such as nutrition, immunizations, contraception, and planning will help young people achieve optimal physical and mental health and prevent unhealthy pregnancies and preterm births. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a reproductive life plan as a tool to use in preconception care. Delaware's plan helps individuals assess their personal health concerns and set goals to help them achieve healthy pregnancies, when and if desired. The teen plan, My Life, My Plan, was developed with input from teens to ensure the messages were empowering and resonated with the needs of the adolescent audience. The campaign utilizes innovative social media strategies to meet needs where necessary.
Implications for Nursing Practice
This primary prevention model of care incorporates preconception care into its service structure by allowing nurses to assist in providing resources and tools to help people begin setting healthy goals earlier in the life cycle.