Five Thousand Overwhelmed, Adolescent Moms Have Received Crucial Help at CAMP

DENVER, Nov. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- "When the doctor said I was pregnant, I couldn't stop crying," said Arlin Rueda, a 20-year-old single mother in Denver, recalling the day she was 17 and found out she was pregnant. "I was just really scared."

Adolescent mothers feel like any new mom and hold onto hope for their child's future. Yet many pregnant adolescents struggle with uncertainties in life, abusive situations, and staying on track with education. Hope is hard to grasp when a teen is told she will fail as a mother.

In its 20-plus year history, CAMP has guided an estimated 5,000 young Colorado mothers through these uncertainties and into a bright future. Arlin Rueda is a CAMP mother.

The primary goals of CAMP, a partnership of the University of Colorado's OB/GYN Department and Children's Hospital Colorado, are achieving the healthiest births possible for pregnant adolescents and creating the healthiest parenting environment for them as mothers.

CAMP's philosophy recognizes that adolescent pregnancies are not the same as older-age pregnancies. The traditional care model of a doctor acting as a gatekeeper and referring for other services as they recognize needs is not appropriate for adolescent mothers.

"Teen mothers usually don't come out and describe problems, such as an abusive boyfriend," said Stephen Scott, M.D., chairman of Pediatric Gynecology at CU and CAMP co-director. "We've flattened our model so we have social workers, case coordinators and nutritionists seeing adolescent patients on a regular basis from the very start, which helps put out fires before they occur so these mothers aren't going from crisis to crisis."

CAMP is located at Children's Colorado in order to be in the same clinical space as Children's Young Mothers Clinic, which is the second arm of CAMP run by Children's Department of Pediatrics.

Hallmarks of CAMP include:

  • Excellent medical and mental health care: patients are seen by the same full team after delivery, receiving pediatric care for themselves and their babies
  • Reducing pre-term (early) deliveries, which adolescent mothers experience at higher rates than older mothers, by addressing mental health issues causing harmful stress that may also lead to risky sexual behaviors or substance abuse that contribute to pre-term births
  • Reducing repeat teen pregnancy by promoting effective contraception, such as long acting reversible contraceptives: the national average for teens having a second pregnancy within 12 months of birth is 20-25 percent; CAMP patients' rate is about 12 percent.

Any teen can enter CAMP, which accepts 450-500 teens a year and sees 250-300 of them through delivery. About 80 percent of participants are Medicaid eligible, and the program seeks teens with the greatest socio-economic needs. Funding is tenuous at best, with federal, state, Children's Colorado and CU funds and facilities subsidizing a substantial percentage of care provided.

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT: Richard Wall 303-382-2999

Source:University of Colorado OB/GYN