SHS teen pregnancy rates down significantly


Teen pregnancy rates in each state in the US. SHS has seen a significant decrease in teen pregnancies from last year to this year. Graphic from Wikipedia

Zing Hlei Vang, Reporter

The teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined by half compared to last year at SHS. SHS also offers the Prenatal Education program called “Have a Healthy Baby” to first time mothers, according to social worker Mrs. Jorie DePalma.

The program goal is to decrease infant mortality rate (IMR) which is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. The program also has a goal to motivate the pregnant students to take care of themselves and their babies.

“We tried to provide this education program to the teens pregnant in our school, so that they can stay healthy,” DePalma said. “Lack of education can be a risk to the baby and the mom.”

According to DePalma, there are three teens pregnant at SHS this year, and they attend the program once a week during iPass.

The goal of the program is also to prevent using drugs, like tobacco and alcohol, while pregnant because that could affect the baby and can harm it, according to DePalma.

The program is held by social worker Marla Lenz, hired by Purdue University, and she lectures mainly about safe sleeping, breastfeeding and eating.

Lenz also talks about why pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat lunch meat because there could be bacteria on the lunch meat that are dangerous to pregnant women, and says that they should not drink a lot of caffeine, according to Lenz.

DePalma says that it’s also important to make sure that the pregnant women still continue their education before and after delivering the baby.

“If there is a pregnancy, then we want to do everything we can,” DePalma said.  “We want to educated the mother and insure that she has as many resources available to her as possible.”