How To Teach About Pregnancy
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended, a number the CDC hope to decrease by 10% by 2020. Teaching about pregnancy is one part of the strategy to reduce this number. Though such teaching is thought of as occurring primarily in the school setting, much education happens in medical clinics as well.
Teaching about pregnancy should cover three broad areas, regardless of age or setting:
- Human reproduction
- Pregnancy options including adoption and abortion.
- Contraceptive methods including abstinence.
If working with adults, do not assume they already have all of this information. Morgan Nuzzo, prenatal nurse and doula, recommends continually asking people if they have questions or concerns. She also cautions that patience is necessary, “Sometimes the best thing you can do is not say anything” while the person works through their thought. She highlights three key practices that have been invaluable to her patients.
- Know your stateâ€™s laws related to reproductive and sexual healthcare services. Are there waiting periods, do minors need consent, etc.
- Honor the autonomy of the pregnant person. â€œWomen know almost immediately what they want to do with their pregnancies,â€ she says so honor that decision and provide information and resources related to that decision.
- Discuss birth control options after pregnancy. Many women mention abstinence as their preferred method going forward. This can be difficult, however, so finding a method that will allow the individual to enjoy sex and not worry about a second pregnancy is vital.
Thank you to Morgan Nuzzo, RN, BS(N) for her input for this article.
 Guttmacher Institute. (2013). Fact sheet: Unintended pregnancy in the United States. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html