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Family Nurse Partnership: Meeting the needs of teenage mothers

02 December 2014
11 min read
Volume 22 · Issue 12

Abstract

Meeting the needs of young parents and their children more effectively will improve their life and long term health. This paper examines the Family Nurse Partnership as a public health initiative in supporting young women and improving the outcomes of themselves and their child(ren). It explores evidence of effectiveness, cost benefit and resource implications and discusses the role of the midwife within the context of public health initiatives and specifically to the delivery of the Family Nurse Partnership.

While it is acknowledged that not all teenage pregnancies are unplanned or result in a substandard or negative life-course for mother and/or child (Duncan et al, 2010), there is a substantial body of research illustrating poorer outcomes and health inequalities for teenage pregnancies (Cantwell et al, 2011; Browne and Jackson, 2013; Chang et al, 2013). It is more likely that the baby will be born prematurely; have a low birthweight; be admitted to hospital as a result of an accident or gastroenteritis; and have a 60% higher mortality rate than babies born to mothers aged 20–39 (Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and Department of Health (DH), 2009; Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), 2013). Compared to older mothers, teenage mothers are three times more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy; a third less likely to breastfeed and three times more likely to develop postnatal depression (DCSF and DH, 2009). Teenage mothers often report feeling stigmatised, isolated and embarrassed (Rudoe and Thomson, 2009), which may result in concealing their pregnancy, booking late and having poorer engagement and attendance with antenatal care (DCSF and DH, 2009). Lack of support, education, information and knowledge about pregnancy may also be a factor for these young people (Brook, 2011).

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