Sexual health is a critical component of normal adolescent development. Engaging pediatric providers who serve families with adolescents in increasing access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare in the primary care setting is key to improving reproductive health outcomes for adolescents.
National statistics show that sexual activity and pregnancy are steady and even on the rise in the adolescent population.
- 39.5% adolescents have had sex (↓ trend)
- 20.7% using birth control pills (steady)
- 4.1% using implant or IUD (↑ trend)
- 456,000 adolescents get pregnant every year, with the majority between 15-19 years old
77% of pregnancies in adolescence are unplanned, often leading to significant short- and long-term consequences for both mother and child – risk for preterm birth, school dropout, poor health, poverty, etc. Primary Care providers, specifically, pediatricians are often the front line of care for adolescents. Most adolescents (~75%) see their primary care provider at least once a year for some type of care, though not always for a “preventive care” visit. Adolescents view their primary care doctor as a trusted source of information. Quality adolescent preventive care includes conversations about healthy development and reducing risk behaviors, including pregnancy prevention and contraception.
Primary care pediatricians are in a unique position to be trained in targeted areas to improve contraceptive health outcomes in adolescents, such as increase sexual health education and contraception counseling during visits, improve counseling quality with focus on method effectiveness and adolescent needs and decrease access barriers by providing LARC placement in clinic and/or easing referral process for placements.
The Ohio AAP has a long-standing history of providing quality improvement, education and resources to pediatric providers with regard to adolescent health. Our work in the adolescent space has focused on:
- Improving well care for adolescents
- Improving vaccination rates and knowledge
- Increasing access to important areas of screening for adolescents including mental health, reproductive health, and substance use
- Suicide and Injury Prevention
Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics – Alliance
Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics – Ashland
Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics – Twinsburg
Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Fostering Connections – Eastland
Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Fostering Connections – Main
Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Fostering Connection – Sharon Woods
Pediatric Associates of Mt. Carmel – Batavia
Pediatric Associates of Mt. Carmel – Eastgate
Pediatric Associate of Mt. Carmel – Loveland
Pediatric Care of Kentucky – Burlington
Pediatric Care of Kentucky – Covington
Pediatric Care of Kentucky – Edgewood
Resources for Adolescents:
What is a LARC
Your Body Your Birth Control