Experiences of Antenatal Care Among Pregnant Adolescents at Kanyama and Matero Reference Clinic in Lusaka District

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Bwalya, Bwalya C.
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The University of Zambia
ABSTRACT Introduction: Adolescent pregnancy is among the many public health concerns not only in Zambia but also in other parts of the world. Access to skilled health providers is essential for the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the unborn child. Exploring pregnant adolescent’s experiences of antenatal care provides an important approach to identify specific problems that may require reevaluation of existing policies and programs in health care systems in Zambia. However, there is limited documentation on the experiences of antenatal care among pregnant adolescents in Zambia. Methodology: A qualitative, phenomenological research design was adopted, using semi structured in-depth interviews to collect data. The interviews with the research participants were audio recorded. Maximum variation sampling technique was used to select 12 pregnant adolescents (1219 years) that attended antenatal care from both Kanyama and Matero Reference clinic in Lusaka District. The participants were identified through observation of antenatal cards at the clinics. Consent was sought from adolescents who were 17years old and above. Parental consent/assent was also sought from the biological mother/father or guardian from participants below 17 years old. Data was analyzed thematically with the help of Nvivo software version 10. Results: The findings of this study indicate that pregnant adolescents had both positive and negative experiences with the health care providers. They complained that the health care providers were rude in the way they communicated with them. However other participants reported that the health providers were friendly and welcoming. The participants also described their experiences of antenatal care with older pregnant women. Some participants reported being judged and discriminated against by older women, while others (older women) were reported to be unfriendly towards the adolescents. On the other hand, some participants revealed that older women offered them good advice on how to take good care of their pregnancy. In addition, a number of learning outcomes from antenatal classes were also noted by the participants with specific reference to antenatal education. Furthermore, the participants also raised a number of other issues with regards to their experiences with the antenatal care services. These included long waiting period to receive care, issues of privacy and confidentiality during counselling and physical examinations of pregnancy, and lack of adolescent specific spaces. Conclusion: Therefore there is a need to establish an adolescent friendly antenatal care that would address some of the issues facing pregnant adolescents at the antenatal clinic. Key Words: Pregnant Adolescents, Experiences, Antenatal Care
Prenatal care--Zambia