Unplanned pregnancy and motherhood among adolescents- reports by adolescent mothers in a peri-urban area of Tshwane District, Gauteng province, South Africa

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Mathildah Mpata Mokgatle
Badanile Pauline Matjene


Adolescent pregnancy and motherhood-related challenges are major social problems affecting teenagers worldwide. It is a concern that affects both developed and developing countries alike. In the past few decades, South Africa has seen a decline in teenage fertility, yet rates of teenage pregnancy remain high at 30% among teenagers aged 15 to 19 years old. This study sought to explore the experiences and challenges of adolescent pregnancy and motherhood among female youth in Tshwane District, Gauteng Province. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to investigate the experiences of teenage pregnancy among 25 teenage mothers aged between 15-19 years old. Participants were selected using a purposive sampling method and were interviewed using face-to-face in-depth interviews. The study sample consisted of Seventeen (N =17) participants were between the ages of 15-19 years and Eight (N= 8) participants were aged between 20-22 years. According to the data, all interviewed participants had one child with the exception of two participants aged 20 and 21 years who had two children and for both of them the children were from different men. The themes that emerged from the data on experiencing unplanned pregnancy and motherhood included assuming new roles and responsibilities, disruption in life plans, being an adolescent mother, schooling, support received during pregnancy and motherhood. Frequent responses on experiences of adolescent pregnancy and motherhood in this study showed that being a young mother had negative consequences. The findings suggest that adolescent mothers tend to experience pregnancy and motherhood as a stressful and challenging life event, which affects their personal lives physically, psychosocially and socially. The study concludes that the experiences of adolescent pregnancy and motherhood by adolescent mothers in the context of this study are unpleasant and unprotective for their wellbeing.

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Author Biography

Mathildah Mpata Mokgatle, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

School of Public Health - Biostatistics