School-Based Prenatal and Postpartum Care: Strategies for Meeting the Medical and Educational Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Students



ABSTRACT: Adolescent pregnancy is not a new phenomenon, but it is a source of concern to U.S. educators because of the many young women choosing to become parents and the profound effect early childbearing has on the educational and vocational careers of many young Americans. Strategies for addressing the unique medical, educational, and psychosocial needs of pregnant and parenting students will be examined. Documented physical and psychosocial risks associated with adolescent childbearing will be reviewed, and data related to the effect of young maternal age on pregnancy outcome and the effect of pregnancy on the life course development of adolescents will be emphasized. Specific elements of comprehensive, adolescent-oriented prenatal and postnatal care will be discussed, as well as the effectiveness of existing prenatal and postnatal programs at preventing the most serious sequelae of adolescent childbearing. The role of school-based services will be examined, and ways will be discussed for educators and health care providers to collaborate in providing medical, educational, and social services for adolescent parents and their children. In addition, topics for future research will be suggested.