A Survey of Louisiana Pediatricians' Approach to Parenting Teens and Adolescent Reproductive Health

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Southern Medical Journal


Objective The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians provide a medical home for adolescent parents, and this study sought to determine pediatricians' compliance with this recommendation within the context of other adolescent reproductive health services provided. Methods An Internet-based survey was administered to Louisiana pediatricians. The survey contained 17 Likert scale questions relating to sexual and reproductive health services provided to female and male adolescents, and ascertaining their comfort and experience with issues related to the care of adolescents, including adolescent mothers. Respondents also had the option of describing why they do or do not provide care to adolescent mothers. Lastly, the survey collected demographic characteristics modeled after the American Academy of Pediatrics Periodic Survey of Fellows. Results There were 101 survey respondents. Seventy-nine percent of pediatricians reported that they provide care to adolescent mothers and they were similar to those who did not with respect to sex, age, race and ethnicity, and training, but they differed by practice community and payer mix. Almost 30% of pediatricians never/rarely test their patients for pregnancy, and nearly 50% never/rarely prescribe contraception. Fifty-four percent agreed that adolescent mothers should continue receiving nonobstetric medical care from their pediatricians, and 70% believed that adolescent fathers should continue receiving medical care from their pediatricians. Conclusions Our study suggests that most Louisiana pediatricians provide care to adolescent mothers; however, knowledge gaps and misconceptions related to adolescent reproductive health persist among pediatricians, including those who refuse care to adolescent mothers. Research into provider-level barriers may inform interventions that improve adolescent parents' access to a pediatric medical home.

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