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Perceptions of Adolescent Pregnancy Among Teenage Girls in Rakai, Uganda.

  • Author(s): Maly, Christina
  • McClendon, Katherine A
  • Baumgartner, Joy Noel
  • Nakyanjo, Neema
  • Ddaaki, William George
  • Serwadda, David
  • Nalugoda, Fred Kakaire
  • Wawer, Maria J
  • Bonnevie, Erika
  • Wagman, Jennifer A
  • et al.
Abstract

The leading causes of death and disability among Ugandan female adolescents aged 15 to 19 years are pregnancy complications, unsafe abortions, and childbirth. Despite these statistics, our understanding of how girls perceive adolescent pregnancy is limited. This qualitative study explored the social and contextual factors shaping the perceptions of adolescent pregnancy and childbirth among a sample of 12 currently pregnant and 14 never pregnant girls living in the rural Rakai District of Uganda. Interviews were conducted to elicit perceived risk factors for pregnancy, associated community attitudes, and personal opinions on adolescent pregnancy. Findings indicate that notions of adolescent pregnancy are primarily influenced by perceptions of control over getting pregnant and readiness for childbearing. Premarital pregnancy was perceived as negative whereas postmarital pregnancy was regarded as positive. Greater understanding of the individual and contextual factors influencing perceptions can aid in development of salient, culturally appropriate policies and programs to mitigate unintended adolescent pregnancies.

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