By Amanda Nezzie
This week on New Mexico in Focus, we devote the full hour to coverage of teen pregnancy and young parenthood in our state. New Mexico has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
All mothers have many choices when it comes to birthing methods and care during birth and after a pregnancy. Nandi Andrea Hill is a certified professional midwife licensed in New Mexico. “I’m not here to manage” she says, “but to give the best care for the entire experience of pregnancy.” During hour-long visits each month during pregnancy, Hill says has “trust, bond, and support once the birth comes.”
According to Hill, many of the teens she has worked with went online to find support and asked good questions. Hill currently is partnering with UNMH to work with women of color in the “Young Mother’s Centering Pregnancy Program.” The program receives support from the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs.
Susan Simon, a certified nurse-midwife with the Lovelace Health System, says a teen mom’s birth choices for a low-risk pregnancy could be everything from a natural childbirth to an epidural in a hospital. Simon says, “we try to make it unbiased as possible and to honor her wishes, as long as it’s safe.”
Simon describes her role as “mentoring in labor.” She works alongside labor and delivery nurses and staff to support the mom during delivery. Pregnant women are routinely asked questions from their health care providers about their home-life situation.
Do you have reliable transportation?
Do you have enough food at home?
Do you feel physically safe at home?
Teen moms are no different, and staff social workers can offer information about resources. Simon says teen moms can sign up for the federal Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) to get in-depth education, nutrition information, access to food vouchers and formula. Lovelace has a lactation program and partners with La Leche League and midwives who can work with moms.
“To build trust with our moms, we grant her autonomy. We recognize this is someone who has the capacity to make her own decisions. This is someone who is wiser than she already knows,” says Susan Simon.
MORE BIRTHING RESOURCES