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Adolescent marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, which is filled with a period of opportunities, challenges, changes, skills, pressures, and physical, cognitive and psychosocial development. They are faced with peer pressure, physiological and emotional changes, sexual experimentation that increases the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. Adolescence pregnancy is common and many of them choose to keep their babies, which are reflected in the increased number of birth rates in Hispanic population.
This paper will discuss the importance of health promotion, considering the cultural, socioeconomically and identify barriers to the well being of the adolescence as well as the fetus.
Teen Pregnancy in the Adolescent Hispanic Population.
There are an increased number of births in Hispanic adolescence between the ages 15-19, from 82.3 (per 1000 females) in 2003 to 82.6 (per 1000 females) in 2004 (Melby, 2006). Adolescence pregnancy could be an anxious, overwhelming and a stressful moment. The lack of information on prenatal education will put adolescence into higher risks pregnancy and may even jeopardize their health as well as the baby’s. Adolescence often hesitates or do not inform their parents of their pregnancy. Many of them do not receive medical care as early as they should, as a result is an increase of complications during pregnancy and delivery (Byers, 2000). Furthermore, alcohol consumption, smoking, or substance abuse, result in low birth weights babies.
Health professionals are in a unique position to assist adolescence in achieving and maintaining optimal levels of health, as well as to identify the risk factors and therefore reducing the unnecessary complications. Emphasizing the importance of prenatal care as well as access to confidential care are definitely a challenge which health care professional will face, in order to increase motivation among teens.The Healthy People 2010 objective is to emphasize in pregnancy planning, reducing the proportion of birth occurring within 24 months of a previous birth, as well as to avoid unintended pregnancy (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 2000).
Adolescence is a phase between childhood and adulthood, where it is characterized by a time of maturation in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional sectors. They develop an invincibility fable, which is the idea that one invincible is never defeated and protected from harm (Berger, 2008). This feelings or ideas strive adolescent to high risk taking behavior, such as unprotected sex. Peer pressure can be a very strong and persuasive force for sexual relations during adolescence, as many adolescents engage in unprotected sex, as well as unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, consuming alcohol and other drugs.
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Values, beliefs, and customs influence client ‘s approach to the health care system and personal health practices. The varieties of culture within Hispanic will require an individualized care plan, based on their own culture, beliefs, and languages. According to (Melby, 2006): “ The taboo against teen pregnancy isn’t strong in many Hispanic communities”. Pregnant adolescent will receive support if she chooses to keep the baby. This reflected in the lower rate of abortion in Hispanic related to their Roman Catholic religious belief (Melby).
Poverty is the most commonly predictor for the high rates of pregnancy in Hispanic. Teenage mothers often come from single-family homes, where the single parent is a mother who is very likely to have been a single mother herself (Byers, 2000). Adolescence pregnancy in unmarried teens can create health difficulties as well as economic hardships. They tend to drop out of school to find jobs to support themselves. Without a high school diploma, many of them are locked into low-paying jobs. Economic disparities prevent many unmarried Hispanic from finding adequate health care. Access to birth control and transportation to free clinics become unaffordable.
Promoting healthy lifestyle.
Teen mothers may not understand the importance of nutrition during pregnancy, and they may not be aware of the other health factors that affect the baby, such as smoking and drinking. Babies who are born to teens are more likely to be born prematurely and to have low birth weight.
Motivation to learn
The self-efficacy plays an important part in adolescent’s health promotion and improvement during pregnancy and childcare, as well as her own personal growth and development. They will establish personal mastery, due to the fact that they are facing with challenges of pregnancy, coping with anxiety, and maturing. Personal mastery, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiologic feedback, are important aspects to help adolescence in a possible change of behavior (Rankin, Stallings, & London, 2005). In a study conducted by Ford, K., et.al.(2002), “The mastery modeling, peer-centered, prenatal care program produced some positive pregnancy outcomes for adolescence mother”. Intervention in this study was based on cognitive theory, where adolescents gain insight of their pregnancy, prepare for childbirth, work with health care professionals, and prevent unplanned pregnancy. Education regarding the importance of nutrition, exercise, childbirth preparation, caring for newborn are emphasized and prenatal care was conducted as well. Result showed that adolescent who participated in this study has fewer rates of low birth infant.
The most important factor leading to positive changes is motivation and the skill that they learn. With successful accomplishments they develop self-efficacy, which increase their expectation of self-mastery (Nguyen, Carson, Parris, & Place, 2003).
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