[en] teenage pregnancy ; adolescent mothers ; sexual and reproductive health needs ; qualitative study ; transition to parenthood
[en] OBJECTIVES: We looked at early pregnancy and parenthood as an opportunity to broaden our understanding of the reproductive health education needs met by adolescent girls. METHODS: We conducted an in-depth interview study with 12 adolescent mothers. RESULTS: To become a mother at a young age was perceived as meaningful to all the participants. The participants expressed a need to be addressed as adult parents, who want the best for their child. A variety of psychosocial and health needs emerged over a time span ranging from starting to be sexually active to after the child was born. Social isolation was found to be an important factor of vulnerability. CONCLUSION: The health needs of adolescent mothers extend well beyond counselling around the decision to continue or terminate pregnancy, and subsequent information on contraception methods to avoid further pregnancies. Adolescent mothers need to be supported in their transition to parenthood, and special care should be provided to girls who are socially isolated. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: We identified several avenues for health education and counselling to adolescent mothers, from primary prevention to reduce incidence of early pregnancies to tertiary prevention to reduce negative health outcomes for both mother and child.