Special Health Conditions: Adolescent Pregnancy

Pregnant Student Supports

For identified pregnant students, the goal of school-based nursing case management services is to support a healthy pregnancy with full term delivery, followed by the continuation of the teen mother in school. Pregnancy-related case management services include regularly scheduled contacts with the student to provide pregnancy education and support, linkage to a primary provider, public health insurance and social service referrals as needed, school attendance monitoring, communication with the provider as needed, infant care education and infant immunization support.

Student Health Services Case Management of Pregnancy and Parenting Students

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A previously identified pregnant student is one who is identified in one school year and returns to school the following term, continuing pregnancy related services. A newly identified pregnant student is one who is identified during the current school year. The number of student pregnancies has increased steadily from SY 2005-06 through SY 2010-11. In SY 2011-12, a 21.3% drop was observed in newly diagnosed pregnancies with 375 identified.

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There were 23 confirmed Middle School pregnancies in SY 2011-12, a 45.2% reduction from the prior year. Pregnancies among middle school students were identified on 13 campuses, indicating that middle school pregnancy is an infrequent, but wide spread phenomenon in AISD.

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The AISD student pregnancy rate, based on females enrolled in grades 8-12 (analogous to but not directly the same as public health measures for teen pregnancy rate), has increased from 27.9 per 1000 girls enrolled in SY 2007-08 to 32.4 in SY 2011-12. It is unclear whether this reflects an actual increase in the AISD student pregnancy rate, or whether more pregnant students remain in school. For Travis County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) the Travis County adolescent pregnancy rate for girls aged 13-17 in 2009 was 24.9, and the teen birth rate was 21.1 per 1000.

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Pregnancy outcomes were available for 177 students. In SY 2011-12, for those students whose outcomes could be identified, 67.2% of student pregnancies resulted in full term deliveries, a decrease from 77.8% in the prior year. Outcomes identified as “other” include false pregnancies, miscarriage/spontaneous abortions and reported terminations.

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School outcomes for pregnant/parenting students could be identified for 182 students in SY 2011-12. Of these, 122 (67.0%) of students were known to have returned to school or graduated post-pregnancy. An additional 48 students withdrew from school; fewer than 6 did not return to school.

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Two Programs of AISD: Human Sexuality Curriculum and REAL Talk

The AISD health education curriculum which is comprehensive, taught K-12, is aligned with best practices and age appropriate. The District’s human sexuality curriculum teaches abstinence as the preferred method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In addition to promoting abstinence, the curriculum educates students on goal setting, emotional supports, risk reduction, and addressing peer pressure in an effort to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STDs). For more information visit the AISD high school human sexuality curriculum.

In addition to the comprehensive health curriculum, the grant-funded evidence-based program Risk Reduction Education for Adolescent Life (REAL Talk) constitutes an additional key effort to prevent adolescent pregnancy in AISD schools. There is a significant need within Austin ISD and Travis County to address the high rates of teen pregnancies and rates of sexually transmitted infections among our adolescent population through increased sexual health education for adolescents and their parents. Middle school and high school campuses with the highest rates of teen pregnancies are targeted, and parental consent is required for participation in REAL Talk. Parent involvement activities, service learning projects, and individual mentoring are provided to participants. The outcome goals of the AISD REAL Talk program include increased knowledge of issues relevant to sexual health and decision-making. Additional areas that could be assessed, with district approval, include changes in sexual behavior, changes in high risk behavior, and changes in intention (e.g. to delay initiation of sexual activity).