Social Support and Access to Prenatal Health Services: A Study of Pregnant Teenagers in Cape Coast, Ghana
The study examined the impact of access to social support on prenatal health seeking behavior of a selected group of pregnant teenage girls in Cape Coast, Ghana. A random sample of 170 each of pregnant teenage girls and older mothers were selected form antenatal clinic registers of three Maternal and Child Health Clinics in Cape Coast. An interview schedule was administered to seek information on initiation of prenatal visits, socio-demographic characteristics, living arrangements and access to social support. Multiple regression analysis of the data indicated that access to social support was a significant predictor of early initiation of prenatal health care, irrespective of socio-demographic background and living arrangements of the group of mothers studied. The results showed that a teenage mother-to-be with inadequate social support and living in a poor household is the standard profile of a poor initiator of early prenatal care. While the results are not very different from those obtained in other studies, notably in the United States, the implications may be more serious in a developing country like Ghana, where teenage childbearing is occurring in the context of inadequate health services, poor state sponsored social services and widespread poverty.
Keywords: teenage pregnancy, social support, pre-natal clinic visits, pregnancy outcomes.
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