CHESTERFIELD – For the first time ever, the Chesterfield County Coordinating Council (CCCC) Youth Development Coalition and the CCCC Health Subcommittee have joined forces to form “Make a Move Project” (MAMP) for Chesterfield County teen parents.
The program is funded by a community grant from the March of Dimes and works closely with pregnant and parenting teens, to help them create a personal plan for good health for their baby by providing free health education, parenting resources, and baby items. It is delivered through customized home visits, or in a group setting to meet the needs of teen mothers, but also includes goal setting and life planning skills.
“The program is introduced in a group setting. From the inquiries to the group class, we hope to identify or take the request from individuals to participate in the one-on-one home visit track,” said Chesterfield County Coordinating Council Volunteer, Felicia Orr. “The home visits are a little different. Each sessions is customized to meet the need of the individual.”
“The home visits are a little different. They provide a one-on-one perspective for participants who cannot attend the sessions at the hospital.”
Orr said that during each group gathering, participants have the chance to talk to medical professionals, health educators, and other teen parents to find out more about creating a plan for a healthy baby and a healthy lifestyle.
Teen mothers are also educated on topics such as:
n What are doctors visits all about?
n Do it for your baby: Resist smoking, drinking and drug use!
n Why do I need Medicaid/WIC?
n What is PKU (Phenylketonuria), an inherited disorder of body chemistry that, if untreated, causes mental retardation? Why is that important for my baby?
n Folic acid -Why it’s important?
The primary goals of this program are to provide education and resources that alter the likelihood of a second teen pregnancy and to decrease infant mortality and birth defects associated with teen pregnancy. The (MAMP) will impact approximately 100 teens annually.
In Chesterfield County, 135 girls, ages 10-19 became pregnant in 2007. These statistics are from the 2007 S.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Epidemiological Profile of Chesterfield County, which is the most recent year data available that were released in 2009, according to Orr. To compare this number with other counties and the state as a whole, the number of pregnancies per 1,000 girls is the teen pregnancy rate. The Chesterfield County rate is 45.7, which is greater than the state rate of 36.5. In fact, only 12 other counties have a rate greater than Chesterfield County. The report also stated that a great percentage of these pregnant teens were pregnant again. In 2006, Chesterfield County led the state in the repeat teen pregnancy rate. Pregnancy affects a teen, married or not, and also a teen father. The report also shows that both teen parents have greater difficulty in school, being self sufficient, and are more likely to live in poverty. The babies of teen parents are more likely to be born underweight, premature, and suffer higher rates of abuse and neglect, according to statistics provided by www.teenpregnacy.org.
The MAMP sessions will be held at 10 a.m. on Aug. 14 and Aug. 28 at Chesterfield General Hospital. Those who want to register can call Chesterfield General Hospital 843-320-3300, or contact Chesterfield County Coordinating Council Director, Margaret Plettinger Mitchell at 843-623-5274.