Back to Journals » International Journal of Women's Health » Volume 5

Experiences of pregnancy and motherhood among teenage mothers in a suburb of Accra, Ghana: a qualitative study

Authors Gyesaw NYK, Ankomah A

Received 14 July 2013

Accepted for publication 3 October 2013

Published 12 November 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 773—780

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S51528

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Nana Yaa Konadu Gyesaw,1 Augustine Ankomah2

1Regional Health Directorate, Ghana Health Service, Koforidua, Eastern Region, 2Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

Background: The proportion of teenage girls who are mothers or who are currently pregnant in sub-Saharan African countries is staggering. There are many studies regarding teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortions, and family planning among teenagers, but very little is known about what happens after pregnancy, ie, the experience of teenage motherhood. Several studies in Ghana have identified the determinants of early sexual activity, contraception, and unsafe abortion, with teenage motherhood only mentioned in passing. Few studies have explored the experiences of adolescent mothers in detail with regard to their pregnancy and childbirth. This qualitative study explores the experiences of adolescent mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and care of their newborns.
Methods: This qualitative study was based on data from focus group discussions and indepth interviews with teenage mothers in a suburb in Accra. Participants were recruited from health facilities as well as by snowball sampling.
Results: Some of the participants became pregnant as a result of transactional sex in order to meet their basic needs, while others became pregnant as a result of sexual violence and exploitation. A few others wanted to become pregnant to command respect from people in society. In nearly all cases, parents and guardians of the adolescent mothers were upset in the initial stages when they heard the news of the pregnancy. One key finding, quite different from in other societies, was how often teenage pregnancies are eventually accepted, by both the young women and their families. Also observed was a rarity of willingness to resort to induced abortion.
Conclusion: Special programs should be initiated by the government and the various responsible departments to address ignorance on sexual matters, and the challenges and risks associated with pregnancy and parenting by adolescents. Parenting techniques should be taught in sex education programs.

Keywords: teenage pregnancy, teenage motherhood, adolescents, unmarried teenagers, focus group discussions, Ghana

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]