Experiences of mothers of pregnant teenagers in Chikankata district, Zambia.

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Lungu, Rabecca
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The University of Zambia
Teenage pregnancy is a public health problem not only in Zambia but world over. Pregnant or parenting teenagers at this point are at their critical developmental time in their lives and in most instances do not have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle their pregnancy or new-born, in this case, families, mostly mothers take up the responsibility to care for the pregnant or parenting daughter to ensure they have a better transition into adulthood. However, little is known about the experiences of these mothers who act as gate keepers. The objective of this study was to explore the experiences of mothers of pregnant teenagers in Chikankata District. A qualitative interpretive phenomenological approach was used and in-depth interviews were conducted. There were 19 respondents who were mothers of pregnant teenagers in Chikankata District who had either a pregnant teenager or a parenting teenager within a year. The purposive sampling method was used to select the sample. The interview guide had one core question which was supported by follow up questions or prompts to cover the specific objectives. Data was manually transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis in which four major themes and 15 subthemes were identified. The results of the study showed that parents undergo varied experiences during the period when their daughters are either pregnant or parenting. The major themes in this study are; reaction towards the pregnancy, physical and mental health effects, personal impositions and typical action taken by the mother. The news of the pregnancy came with varied reactions such as anger, fear, loss, disappointment and acceptance. Lack of financial support was seen to impact their experiences. The findings also reveal that mothers took different actions such as physical involvement in offering care and support and others exerted punishment on the teenager. The study also revealed how emotional and physical support provided by the family and society can assist the mothers; further render help to their daughters as they transcend into parenthood. This study assumes that an increase in teenage pregnancy will lead physical and mental health problems on the mothers of pregnant teenagers which may further have a negative impact on the health care system. In this regard, there is need to create health promotion programs and also develop Health Education materials for stress reduction specifically for the mothers of pregnant or parenting teenagers.
Teenage pregnancy--Zambia. , Pregnancy--Teenagers. , Pregnancy.