Support and advice for teenage parents and expectant mums

Compared with the rest of Europe, England has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy.

A father holding a baby up high

Tackling this issue to reduce the number of pregnancies under 18 is therefore both a national and local priority.

Teenage pregnancy is an important strand of the Barnsley Children and Young People's Plan 2009-2012. The Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy is currently being revised for publication in 2012. The strategy brings together many organisations who work with young people and families, such as midwives, health visitors, school nurses, GPs, sexual health services, Healthy Schools/ Settings, Connexions, social care services, children's centres, and many others.

By working in partnership we can give young people and young parents in Barnsley access to a range of comprehensive, non stigmatised, confidential advice and information to help them make informed choices relating to sexual health, pregnancy and parenthood. Where teenage girls become pregnant, we will ensure that they're supported throughout their pregnancy and that young mums and dads get whatever support they need after their baby is born.

Principles and values

Our local strategy adopts the principles and values recognised within the Children and Young Peoples Trust: to create a safe, supportive, healthy environment, which values children, young people and their families and creates opportunities for all to grow and develop.

These are:

  • involving children, young people and families in the design and review of services
  • raising the aspirations, attainment and achievements of children and young people
  • focusing on early intervention and prevention
  • promoting better health outcomes and reducing health inequalities, including improving mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people.

Why it matters:

  • Teenage parents are more likely than their peers to live in poverty and be unemployed
  • The number of low weight babies born to teenage mums is greater by 25%
  • Infant mortality in teenage mums increases by 60%
  • Postnatal depression is three times more likely in teenage mums than older mothers
  • Teenage mums are 50% less likely to breastfeed
  • Teenage mums often achieve less at schools and are less likely to move into further education.

Advice for young people

Young people friendly sexual health advice and contraception

'What do you know' is a campaign to increase awareness of and engagement with local services to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of young people in Barnsley, including links to alcohol and drugs. The campaign aims to reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections and unintended teenage pregnancies.

What do you know has been developed working with young people across Barnsley and partners in health and social care, the local authority, education services and voluntary and community organisations.

The whatdoyouknow website includes essential information about protection and prevention, infection, pregnancy, how to get tested, what to do in an emergency and where to find services. There are also resources to support parents and professionals working with young people across Barnsley.

Sex and relationships education

Effective sex and relationship education does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It teaches young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, to build up their confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. It builds up knowledge and skills, which are particularly important today because of the many different and conflicting pressures on young people.

This work comes under the Personal, Health, Social and Citizenship Education (PHSCE) delivered in schools. Barnsley Healthy Schools website has more information on PHSCE.

Teenage pregnancy data and analysis

Data collection is essential to see how we are doing or to see if there are any different approaches we can take. It can build a picture of young people at risk of teenage pregnancy, challenge and broaden perceptions held by local partners and help us to strengthen the areas of work which are needed. The latest Teenage Pregnancy Profile can be accessed via this link.

Working with pregnant teenagers and teenage parents

There is lots of information, advice and support available to teenagers who become pregnant.

The teenage pregnancy specialist midwife provides support to pregnant young women under the age of 18 in a variety of settings whether in hospital, at home, in school or in college.

Young women can access the midwife directly for advice and support throughout their pregnancy and after the birth of their baby, or can be referred by other agencies.

You can contact the teenage pregnancy specialist midwife on 07909536998 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Family Nurse Partnership (FNP)

The FNP is a preventive programme for young first time mothers. It offers intensive and structured home visiting, delivered by specially trained nurses (Family Nurses), from early pregnancy until the child is two.

For more information follow this link to their website: FNP website

Care to Learn

If you're under 20 and have one or more children, Care to Learn can help with the cost of your childcare while you're learning.

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