262355 Adolescent childbearing in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, México: Young mothers' adaptations to parenting and perceptions of social support and family planning

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Katharine Horowitz, MPH, CPH , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Ondine Rosenthal, LCC , Mujeres Aliadas, Pátzcuaro, Mexico
Thomas E. Guadamuz, PhD, MHS , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and Center for Health Policy Studies Mahidol University, Pittsburgh, PA
Background: Our qualitative study aimed to elucidate how young Mexican mothers from an underserved region adapted/transitioned to motherhood, perceived family planning, and experienced social support.

Methods: We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) and participant observations in Erongarícuaro, México in June 2011. Twenty women from 5 towns comprised 3 FGDs, each meeting twice. Participants were 18 to 27, 80% having given birth to their first child before 20. Questions related to adolescent and present conceptions of motherhood; family/community reactions; sexual health confidants; family planning; gender meanings; and social support were discussed. Audio-recorded data were transcribed and analyzed using a developmental, strengths-based approach.

Results: Emergent themes included constructions of social identities of being a mother/wife; joy of being with their children; coping with violence and substance abuse in the home; decision-making around marriage; and negotiating community expectations. Participants felt strong social support around logistical needs, especially childcare, but at the same time felt emotionally isolated. Many reported desires to plan their families, but there is lack of information on or access to contraception. Sex is only discussed with peers.

Conclusions: With nuanced understandings of the challenges, experiences, and adaptive mechanisms of young mothers, we can better intervene both to prevent pregnancy in adolescence and to support pregnant and parenting teens. Public health interventions have underutilized a specific developmental perspective in approaching adolescent health. Enriching understandings of adolescent transition to motherhood in varying international contexts will strengthen our efforts to help improve reproductive and psychosocial outcomes of adolescents and their children.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
- Describe young mothers' adaptations to motherhood, perceptions of family planning, and experiences of social support. - Discuss the implications of the findings for developmentally-appropriate interventions both to prevent unplanned pregnancy in adolescence and to support pregnant and parenting adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, International, Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Master of Public Health candidate with experience in the field of youth development as a practitioner, program planner, and administrator. I am the principal on the current study. My faculty sponsor is my advisor and co-author, Thomas Guadamuz.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.