Approaching Sexual Health

Complete a 1-2 page assessment of the following scenario. Include at least 1 reference from your own independent research.

Suppose for a moment that you are the counselor of a 14-year-old. She has a boyfriend, and although she hasn’t said anything specific to you, you suspect that she may be on the verge of becoming sexually active.
What would be the three most important pieces of advice and information you would to communicate to her about STIs? Explain how you might approach the subject with her. What if any differences would there be if the 14-year-old was a boy?

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Module 03 – Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections
How We Reproduce
Fertilization is the penetration of an ovum by a sperm in which they merge into a
single cell zygote.
Conception occurs when the zygote implants itself in the uterine wall roughly 10-14
days after fertilization.
When Conception Fails
Each year, millions of couples fail to conceive after repeated attempts to do so.
Some of these couples suffer from sterility, a physical inability to reproduce.
Couples who are medically able to reproduce but are unable to do so after a
year of normal sexual activity are infertile.
About a third of infertility cases are due to the female. Reasons include
ovulation irregularities, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, stress, or
poor nutrition.
About a third of infertility cases are due to the male. Reasons include
azoospermia (no sperm production), oligospermia (low sperm production), or
low motility.
The Changes Through Pregnancy
Pregnancy Trimesters
The First Trimester (Conception – 12 weeks)
During the first twelve weeks, all of the major organs will form and the baby is
especially vulnerable to teratogens. This is known as the critical period of
A number of physical symptoms will occur which indicate that a woman is
pregnant, including breast tenderness, nausea (“morning sickness”), missing a
period, and fatigue.
Due to hormonal shifts, a newly pregnant woman will sometimes experience
powerful and sudden mood swings. These may occur even with optimal support
and planning.
Sexual activity is permissible throughout this time.
The Second Trimester (13 – 26 weeks)
As the uterus expands, a woman’s pregnancy will begin to show as a bulge in her
lower abdomen.
By the end of the fourth month, the baby has continued to grow rapidly, and a
mother will feel her baby moving inside of her, which is known as quickening.
Facial features, fingers, toes, and ears will form. The baby will open and close its
mouth, occasionally ingesting amniotic fluid.
The nausea and fatigue begin to disappear, and mood improves and stabilizes.
By the end of the second trimester, the baby has reached the age of viability, or
the earliest point at which a baby can live outside the mother. However, most
babies born this early don’t survive.
The new mother will continue to gain weight, adding about one half to one pound
each week.
While some women become anxious about their weight gain during pregnancy,
most women feel good about themselves during this time.
Sexual desire and activity become especially intense.
The Third Trimester (27 – 40 weeks)
During the 7th month, the baby grows to a length of 15 inches and weighs 2.5
By the 34th week, the baby reverses position.
At week 36, the baby is nearly full term and adding 1-2 lbs. a week.
The new mother continues to experience physical changes as her pregnancy
progresses. The increased size of her baby causes her to experience fatigue,
lower back pain, difficulty in breathing, urinate more often, and have an increase
in breast size. She will also experience false contractions (known as BraxtonHicks contractions).
The new father may notice some changes in his partner’s mood, including
increasing anxiety over the pregnancy, fatigue, and a loss of interest in sex.
Labor and Birth
Understanding Labor
Stage 1: Labor
Contractions become more frequent, from 20 minutes at the onset to about 90
seconds as the birth draws near.
They also increase in strength, eventually causing the cervix to dilate (reaching a
width of about 4 inches).
Stage 2: Pushing and Delivery
This stage can be long and difficult, taking up to two hours to push the baby
through the birth canal.
Some doctors will perform an episiotomy, a surgical cut in the perineum. While
this procedure is fairly common, it is an issue of debate whether or not it is
actually needed.
The baby’s head will crown, meaning it becomes visible in the mouth of the
This stage ends with the expulsion of the baby from the birth canal.
Stage 3: Delivery of the Placenta
In this stage the placenta is expelled from the birth canal.
Stage 4: Recovery
This stage encompasses the first two years after giving birth, as the mother’s
body returns to normal.
Due to hormone fluctuations, some women may experience post-partum
depression, which refers to a cluster of depressive symptoms following the
birthing process.
Sexual and Relationship Life After Childbirth
Sexual Life After Giving Birth
Most doctors encourage women to wait at least 6 weeks before resuming sexual activity
with their partner.
Many women report having a lower sexual desire in the first year after giving birth, and
some experience a delay in normal orgasm response. About half of women experience
some pain after resuming sexual activity after giving birth.
Relationship Life After Giving Birth
The stress of pregnancy can cause a couple to experience some relational difficulties
both before and after the birth of a new baby.
Couples who have strong communication skills and emotional support for one another
generally adjust well and continue to maintain a positive, satisfying relationship.
Factors which influence a positive outcome include financial stability and having a strong
social support network.
Unexpected Outcomes
Cesarean Sections
A C-section refers to the surgical removal of the baby from the uterus.
Today, nearly 1/3 of all births in the U.S. are delivered by C-section.
There is some question as to whether or not many of these procedures are medically
Medical factors which may necessitate a C-section procedure include excessive
bleeding, breach births, cephalopelvic disproportion, diseases, and fetal distress.
Risks associated with C-section include infection, reactions to anesthesia, and
postoperative scarring.
Though C-sections are relatively safe, vaginal deliveries still represent the safest way to
deliver with the fewest side effects.
The Physically Challenged Baby
Parents who have a baby with serious psychological or physical problems may pass
through a set of grief stages similar to those who have lost a baby.
Pregnancy Loss
Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is the loss of a baby prior to the 20th week of
Miscarriages tend to occur very early in a pregnancy, often in the first trimester.
Stillbirth is the loss of a baby after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Most stillbirths occur prior to delivery.
This can be particularly devastating because the mother felt the baby moving inside her
earlier in her pregnancy.
Though the baby is no longer alive, it must be delivered, either naturally or with Csection.
Many parents are encouraged to spend a few hours with their baby after it is delivered as
a way of processing their grief.
Neonatal Death
The neonatal period refers to the first month after birth. The infant mortality rate is the
highest during this period.
Birth defects represent the most common cause of neonatal deaths, about 25%.
Premature birth (less than 37 weeks) is another major cause of neonatal deaths,
accounting for about 20% overall.
Many babies who are born premature suffer from an underdeveloped respiratory system.
This can cause respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), cause by having underdeveloped
Parents who have lost a baby to stillbirth or soon after birth pass through a set of grief
stages including shock, searching, nothingness, recovery, and maintenance
Module 03 – Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are primarily transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sexual
contact. Approximately half of the population of the United States will contract an STI at some point in life,
and an estimated 19 million people are infected with an STI each year. Sexually active people between
the ages of 15 and 24 are at the greatest risk of contracting STIs.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes genital warts, are the most
common agents causing STIs among teens and young adults. STIs are among the most common
illnesses throughout the world. Many STIs may have no obvious symptoms and may go undiagnosed and
untreated, allowing them to spread more widely.
STIs are categorized according to the type of microbe causing the infection:
Viral STIs have no cure. The most common of these are herpes, hepatitis B, the human
papilloma virus, and HIV.
Bacterial STIs are readily cured with antibiotics. The most common include chlamydia,
gonorrhea, syphilis, and chancroid (herpes).
Parasitic STIs are caused by organisms that attach to and feed off of the human body. The
most common of these are trichomoniasis and pubic lice.
Strategies for preventing STIs include becoming educated about their causes, symptoms, and treatments;
overcoming negative sexual feelings that often interfere with treatment; maintaining effective
communication between partners to help avoid transmission; resisting the use of mind-altering
substances that cloud judgment and may lead to unsafe sexual practices; and engaging in safer sexual

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