Assessment And Referrals

As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach optimizes care and outcomes for adolescent parents.  This section discusses key areas for assessment and referrals when working with pregnant and parenting teens. 

Further details on these guidelines can be found in the free download: “Caring for Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents” developed by the Physicians for Reproductive Health as part of their comprehensive curriculum “Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Program” (ARSHEP).    

The ARSHEP recommends a holistic approach to care, ensuring that the following issues are addressed within the medical home – or coordinated through appropriate referrals.

In addition to standard medical care, critical areas of assessment and care for the primary clinician working with adolescent parents during and after pregnancy include:

  • Mental Health Care
    • Depression, stress, anxiety and coping with parenting demands
    • Peer, family and partner support
    • Provision of resources to counter stigmatization
  • Reproductive Health:
    • Prenatal and postpartum care
    • STI evaluation, preventive and treatment, and the use of contraception to avoid rapid repeat pregnancy
  • Dental Care 
  • Lifestyle Behaviors and Risk:
    • Diet, body mass index, physical activity
    • Smoking, substance use
    • Intimate partner violence
  • Assessment of Infrastructure and Logistical Issues:
    • Financial support:  employment services, eligibility and assistance accessing public benefits – WIC, Medicaid, local and regional programs
    • Educational support:  completion of high school and/or secondary education, infant and toddler parenting education
    • Child care:  understanding quality childcare and ways to access it
    • Household management (e.g. budgeting and meal planning) and transportation
    • Housing assistance:  parents of teens, extended family, shelter and available programs

Federal programs, community resources and educational support for these issues can be found on the Resources Page.