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Analysis

Teenage mothers

16 June, 2008

Teenage mothers

McVeigh C (2002) Teenage mothers: a pilot study. Austr J Midwifery 15: 26-30.

Jan Wallis reviews the latest research 

McVeigh C (2002) Teenage mothers: a pilot study. Austr J Midwifery 15: 26-30. 

 

Midwives magazine: January 2003

 

A pilot quantitive descriptive study was carried out in a regional centre in Queensland, Australia, aiming to develop a snapshot image of teenage mothers. Also, the need for further in-depth research was examined.

 

A 40-item questionnaire was developed specifically for the study, in order to gather personal and sociodemographic information about the mother, her infant and the father of her child. The mothers were asked to evaluate the support they received from the father, their level of satisfaction with motherhood and their quality of life. Additional questions about contraceptive use, planned versus unplanned pregnancy, participation in parenting programmes and living arrangements were included.

 

A total of 30 teenage mothers were surveyed during the first six months following the birth of their baby. The mean age was 17.7 years and 27 (90%) were primiparas. Only 16 (53%) had used contraceptives; just eight used condoms and 23 (77%) had experienced an unplanned pregnancy; 25 (83%) said they were happy when informed of the pregancy; 22 (73%) attended childbirth and parenting programmes and 16 (53%) continued to breastfeed their babies following transfer home from hospital.Midwives, prenatal educators and their own parents were sources most frequently cited for information regarding pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.

 

Only 11 (37%) of the mothers lived with the father of their baby, and not all relationships were with the biological father. Only two were attending school, although 20 (71%) had less than 12 years of education. None planned to return to school in the immediate future; 18 (67%) received social security and all reported incomes of less than $20 000 (Australian).

 

However, 25 (83%) believed their quality of life was good; 27 (90%) were very satisfied with motherhood, but 27 (90%) reported being less than satisfied with the support they received from the father of their baby.

 

The fathers’ mean age was 21 years and most were not teenagers.Many had not completed high school; nine (30%) were unemployed; seven (23%) received social security benefits and 24 (89%) reported annual incomes of less than $29 000 (Australian). On average, the fathers had known the teenage mothers for more than two years, but 19 (63%) were absentee fathers following the birth of their child.

 

The author states that no attempt is made to generalise these results because only one youth centre participated, but the results offer information not previously available in Australia and support the notion that further investigations are warranted. 

 

 

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