The Projeto Menina-mãe seeks to minimize the effects that pregnancy during teenagehood can cause in the emotional, physical, and also social developments of pregnant girls under 18 years of age and who suffer social deprivation. Based on AMS – Associação Médica de Santos, the project has a voluntary multidisciplinary team: doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, dentists, social workers, artisans, yoga instructor, publicist, accountant, lawyer and a web agency.
In scientific literature it is stated that these girls often become pregnant again within a year or two after the first pregnancy and also that they are more likely to have complications during the pregnancy, therefore, our work is to provide them with information and monitoring, along with the teen’s doctor, in an attempt to reduce these risks.
In order to remain linked to the project, It is a prerequisite that the girls are in specialized medical care (prenatal) and also after delivery, as well as their babies.
We offer medical, psychological and corporal advice before and after birth, through lectures and experiences in our office and through the work of the multidisciplinary team.
We seek to integrate them into family and school. We conduct regular meetings with the mothers of girls and fathers of their babies. Through partnerships with schools that have vocational courses we have been able to broaden our professional horizons. We give basic guidance for childcare so that future moms can take care of their babies, as well as information on contraceptive methods for postpartum.
We follow the mother and child during his or her first six months of life, along with a gynecologist and the pediatrician in charge.
The project activities take place weekly and are totally free (including driving and meal).
Our project has national attention in 2009 when we launched a website and received several e-mails from all over Brazil from organizations that wished to replicate our initiative on care and prevention of teenage pregnancy. The Projeto Menina-mãe also had the largest TV broadcaster in the country to promote our initiative and, since then, media contact has become more constant. The widespread media disclosure provided greater benefits: we haved received from businesses and from the community donations of hygiene supplies and clothes and baby supplies, such as diapers, shampoo, soap, etc.
To maintain our project, we organize twice a semester the Pizza Night, a lively and tasty dinner in which the community may participate.
The project currently serves about 150 girls and we are always receiving new girls. We are seeking the necessary resources and partnerships in order to increase our service.
Engaging pregnant adolescents in critical reflections on the consequences of early pregnancy, through group educational activities, for instance, it is a fundamental part of the educational work we do with these young people. However, it is often difficult to modify the information that these young women know about pregnancy; we offer a space for these girls who often have no support from their families, nor from the child’s father, and who is discriminated by their communities and schools. Here, we want them to be able to chat with other girls who are in similar situations, to receive counseling, medical and dental treatment, among and other things. We strive to try to improve a not very positive situation.
We offer counsel to those girls and, little by little, we’re able to begin changing the focus of the situation: we help them to deal with their problems, overcome obstacles and to resist pressure of adversity. After much reflection, there is a decision-making within this context full of difficulties: there must be a change of attitude towards their lives. We make sure the girls will be able to build a different life project, transforming an initial project to be a mother again in a desire to build a future career where she can work to keep their first babies.
This work of professional projection through the receptionist work gives girls a professional qualification in an area that is in need of professionals in our city. With this training, they can fill a gap in our city for suited professionals to work as medical receptionists.
To face the challenge of getting these girls to reflect on their realities, we have developed educational lectures on relevant topics to the situations experienced by the girls, such as violence against women, for instance.
We seek for improvement in the psychological and physical developments of those girls through yoga classes and eutony practices, that provide well-being for pregnant women and and we also have sitters to stay with their babies during this period, so that the girls can participate in the activities. During the year, we celebrate important dates, such as the project’s anniversary, Christmas etc. to have them socialize. In addition, our major objective is to guide these girls so that there is not a second unwanted pregnancy. There has been, since the beginning of the project, only three new cases of pregnancy in the total of 155 girls: one because she has decided to have another child, and two others, without planning.
The project serves around 25 girls weekly and we are seeking the necessary resources and partnerships to increase our number of patients.
In Brazil, 24% of live births are children of girls aged from 10 to 19 years-old. In Santos, the rate is by 11% and often these young girls are served by the governmental Unified Health System of that performs the prenatal exams, but does provide them with proper emotional and social care. The psychosocial complications related to pregnancy in adolescence is as important as the physical complications.
Facts that should be taken into account, including by the team that performs the prenatal care, would be, for example, parental desertion, abandonment by the father of the child, oppression and social discrimination, the interruption of studies and their future consequences, such as the difficulty in getting a job and financial dependence on parents for longer.
The project promotes various activities so as to prevent these situations from occurring, and to provide multidisciplinary support for these girls, also avoiding postpartum depression, a very common condition among young mothers. Several issues are addressed, clearing paths in the new reality of these girls. With this support, we eased the difficulties of facing an early first pregnancy, and the girls are able to see prospects for the future, learn to love and care for their childs, and during the first six months of the babies’ lives, they still participate in the project, with other girls who have given birth, and other newcomers.
In addition to information on how to have a life plan, the Projeto Menina-mãel offers girls a chance of qualification for the job market through an agreement signed with the Technical School Renovação, which provides a course for teenagers receptionist.
Therefore, the differential of our project is, besides seeking the prevention of teenage pregnancy, is to also to receive pregnant girls and provide them with the conditions to overcome their problems and adversities they are facing, so that we can achieve change through reflection and planning for future life plans.
Associação dos Médicos de Santos (Santos Medical Association)
Adress: Av. Ana Costa, 388 – Santos – São Paulo – Brazil
Phone: +55 13 3289-2626