Options Counseling for the Pregnant Adolescent Patient
Although teenage pregnancy rates have decreased over the past 30 years, many adolescents become pregnant every year. It is important for pediatricians to have the ability and the resources to make a timely pregnancy diagnosis in their adolescent patients and provide them with nonjudgmental counseling that includes the full range of pregnancy options. Counseling includes an unbiased discussion of the adolescent’s options to continue or terminate the pregnancy, supporting the adolescent in the decision-making process, and referring the adolescent to appropriate resources and services. It is important for pediatricians to be familiar with laws and policies impacting access to abortion care, especially for minor adolescents, as well as laws that seek to limit health care professionals’ provision of unbiased pregnancy options counseling and referrals, either for abortion care or continuation of pregnancy in accordance with the adolescent’s choice. Pediatricians who choose not to provide such discussions should promptly refer pregnant adolescent patients to a health care professional who will offer developmentally appropriate pregnancy options counseling that includes the full range of pregnancy options. Pediatricians should be aware of and oppose policies that restrict their ability to provide pregnant adolescents with unbiased counseling that includes the full range of pregnancy options. This approach to pregnancy options counseling has not changed since the original 1989 American Academy of Pediatrics statement on this issue.
- September 1, 2022
Volume / Issue
- 150 / 3
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