On-line version ISSN 0379-8577
JAMES, Sindiwe; RALL, Nadine and STRUMPHER, Juanita. Perceptions of pregnant teenagers with regard to the antenatal care clinic environment. Curationis [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.1, pp. 1-8. ISSN 0379-8577.
Pregnancy in teenagers seems to be a challenge that might contribute to a struggle to fulfil the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals directly related to women's reproductive health and neonatal care. The challenge becomes worse as midwives and nurses find it difficult to fully supervise all these pregnancies, because teenagers stay away or default from clinic attendance. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the perceptions of pregnant teenagers of the antenatal care (ANC) clinic environment and to recommend guidelines to midwifery operational managers for strategies to create teenager-friendly ANC clinic environments. The study applied a qualitative research design with explorative, descriptive and contextual research approaches. The ethical principles that guided this study were respect for the person, beneficence and justice. Semi-structured interviews utilising a predetermined interview schedule with a central open-ended question to address the study objectives were used. Data were collected from pregnant teenagers attending ANC clinics in Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. Participants were unanimous in that they perceived the clinic environment as causing discomfort to them. Different reasons attributed to this experience were related to their young age. The age difference between themselves and other women attending the clinic made participants perceive themselves as inferior and as being treated as such at the clinic. They found this embarrassing and recommended having their own waiting area and additional midwives at the clinic so that they would not be subjected to humiliating scrutiny and disapproval from older pregnant women. Pregnant teenagers' recall of their experiences of the ANC clinic environment suggests that they perceive themselves as not being adequately cared for, as judged, and as forced to be in an environment that is insensitive to their needs. As a result some of their peers stayed away from the clinic and at times they contemplated the same action. A well-managed ANC clinic environment which has midwives who are empowered with the necessary skills in terms of dealing with the needs of youth has been requested by the pregnant teenagers.