Parenting is challenging, but it can be particularly difficult for adolescent parents. Young women who become mothers during their teenage years often face negative outcomes for themselves and their children. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health, compared with their peers without children, teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, more likely to rely on public assistance, more likely to be impoverished adults and more likely to have children who have poor educational, behavioral and health outcomes over the course of their lives.
Despite historic declines, the teen birth rate in the United States is still higher than rates in other developed countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2015, more than 229,000 babies were born in the U.S. to teen girls between the ages of 15 and 19. Teen pregnancy rates are a problem on a local level, too; in 2016, 179 of OneWorld’s 1,509 prenatal patients were under the age of 19.
OneWorld’s Women’s Health Center is equipped to help expecting mothers of all ages with prenatal care. Our medical staff, program leaders and volunteers work together to make OneWorld a comfortable, safe and convenient place for parents who need help preparing for babies. Our programs like the Baby Boutique, WIC and the Centering Pregnancy Program are designed to help first-time parents start out with essential items, nutritional services and community support in addition to quality health care.
While we are equipped to help teen mothers during and after their pregnancies, we also work to prevent teen pregnancies from occurring in the first place. Birth control is available at any of our locations, and young people under age 24 are welcome to visit our Teen and Young Adult Health Center for teen-friendly care and sexual health education. Young people can walk into the Teen and Young Adult Health Center, or they can make appointments at any OneWorld clinic to learn about the low- or no-cost birth control options we provide. We encourage parental involvement in visits; however, with our clinicians’ help, teens can choose for themselves the birth control options that work best for them. Our clinicians are specifically trained to discuss sexual health with teens and young adults, and they work with patients compassionately and confidentially. By working to raise awareness about the importance of safe sex and by increasing teens’ access to birth control, we are doing our part to diminish teen pregnancy rates in the Omaha area.