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Full Circle Women’s Health

Teen Health Care

Teenage girls need midwives too

Midwives can play a critical role in the transitional stages of a woman’s development, especially the uncharted terrains of puberty, pregnancy and menopause when everything is in flux. Being prepared and anticipating these changes eases the process dramatically and decreases fear and anxiety. Knowledge ultimately empowers women to trust their bodies and to engage in preventive and health sustaining practices.

A quick look at the etymology of the word midwife shows it to mean “with woman.” Today’s midwives enjoy a much broader scope of practice, which includes all the health issues that modern women and teens face. Midwives are with every woman in a personal, caring and non-judgmental way.

Midwives prepare young women to care for their bodies

Midwifery care is culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate and respects the growing independence, privacy and learning needs of the maturing girl. A good example of this kind of mentoring and guidance is an exercise we do with our pre-college patients. We guide them in their gathering of personal medical history and family history through discussions with parents and grandparents. The knowledge obtained in this exercise starts them on the road to assuming an active role in taking care of their health.

Very often a young girl may feel more at ease talking to someone outside her family, and midwives are comfortable initiating conversations that other people in a teen’s life tend to avoid. This is evident in the questions we ask, the language we use, the time we spend listening, and in our thoroughness in conducting the physical exams. A midwife can act as a transitional figure, providing support for, and offering knowledge to a girl when she is ready to hear it. Though we maintain complete confidentiality, we help girls think about how to maintain and even improve communication with their parents.