Teenage pregnancy continues to be a severe maternal health issue globally. Adolescent mothers’ problems are biological, social, and psychological and may include sexual coercion and violence. This study sought to formally explore the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of pregnant teenagers. Guyana has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Researchers interviewed 50 pregnant girls attending GPHC for six weeks. Using a convenience sample approach, the principal investigator used a questionnaire to collect data.

As well as overall poor sexual and reproductive health knowledge and high-risk sexual health practices, our study revealed a high rate of rape and sexual coercion among the 50 girls interviewed. Almost a quarter admitted to having been raped in the past, and 80% stated a lack of power in sexual relationships.

The study concluded a need for more targeted sexual and reproductive health services for teenagers attending GPHC and more research into sexual violence among this group of women. Establishing a screening and referral system for those at risk should begin to address specific issues and optimize health outcomes for the women and their babies.

Reference: https://srh.bmj.com/content/42/2/116