Factors associated with teenage pregnancy in southwest Nigeria
Background: Teenage pregnancy is a major contributor to maternal and child mortality, and to the vicious cycle of ill-health and poverty worldwide and thus, requires urgent intervention. This cross-sectional study therefore assessed the prevalence and contextual factors associated with teenage pregnancy in south-west Nigeria.
Method: A total of 350 consenting teenagers between ages 13 and 19 were recruited using a multi-stage sampling technique. The validated semi-structured questionnaire was used to elicit information on socio-demographic characteristics of teenagers, risk factors and prevalence of teenage pregnancy.
Results: The mean age ± SD of the respondents is 16.79 ± 1.52 years. Majority (341, 97.4%) of them were single. More than a quarter (28%) of the girls were sexually active with over half sexual debut occurring at age 16 and thereafter, while, pleasure was the most cited reason (59.2%) for engaging in sexual intercourse. The prevalence of teenage pregnancy and childbirth was 7.7% and 3.4% respectively, with over half (59.3%) of the pregnancy resulting into an abortion. Individual and socio-economic factors such as age, early marriage, ethnicity, lack of formal education, family disruptions, poverty, early sexual debut, sex for financial gains, having pregnant sibling, use of alcohol, social media naive and a positive attitude towards premarital sex significantly increase the vulnerability of girls to becoming pregnant.
Conclusion: The findings of this study show that though numerous, these contextual factors are largely modifiable through effective policy and interventions on early marriage, comprehensive sexuality education, ensuring girls enrolment in schools, community poverty alleviation programmes targeted at vulnerable girls and families as well as addressing gender norms that expose girls unduly.