The sample was consecutive and intentional, making contact with women having had pregnancies without complications before age 19; no cases of pregnancy due to rape or sexual abuse were included in the sample. The snowball technique was used to obtain new cases, contacting teens at school, in their homes, or in the clinic during prenatal care.
The adolescents were approached and invited to participate in the research. The search for participants and the interviewing process were halted when we observed a saturation of information obtained in relation to the subjects of interest. As most adolescents have their first prenatal check-up in the last trimester of pregnancy, the experts and the working group decided to perform only one interview during pregnancy to explore contents prior to and during the pregnancy. The aim of other two post-partum interviews was to obtain information about the pregnancy, and individual and family contexts after the pregnancy.
The interviews were semi-structured and conducted face-to-face with each of the teen girls one at a time. All interviews with any given key informant were carried out by the one researcher-interviewer who had not had any relationship with the interviewee. In order to understand the dynamic of each individual process and to explore what occurred over time, we chose a period of 2 years to see what had happened after childbirth in the areas of family relations, school, partner relationships and future projects.
Since the context of teen pregnancy should be considered as an integrated process, we wanted to fully explore its factors from the perspective of the family. Accordingly, in addition to the information provided by the teen interviewee, we sought out the opinions of relatives or people close to her. With these varied sources, we sought to complement and enrich the information, and to gain knowledge of the testimony of the family members, thus qualifying it for the individual and family context of teen pregnancy.
The participants were allowed to establish the places and dates of the interviews in order to attain a better flow of information, resulting in that homes and parks were the most frequent settings. An anthropologist and an observer researcher conducted the interviews. To ensure methodological rigor, an independent social psychologist and two anthropologists participating in the working group listened to the recordings and read over the transcripts several times.
The aim here was to provide an objective dimension to the data obtained and reach a consensus on the research issues. It also provided us with a space for reflection so as to better proceed with the subsequent phase.
Each participant and their parents or guardians signed the letters of assent and informed consent, guaranteeing anonymity the confidentiality of their data. The protocol was approved by the research and ethics committees of the National Institute of Perinatology and all participants were offered free nutritional care in turn for their participation.
In order to obtain the best possible interpretation, the information was analysed in its entirety in three phases: pre-analysis, exploration and interpretation of the results [ 22 ]. In the pre-analysis phase, some authors read the transcribed interviews and four of the authors independently listened to the recordings, which was their first contact with the context. Subsequently, as a group, the texts that had been previously read were discussed and the information codes of each of the parts of the interview guide were selected, allowing us to organize and analyse the data as an integral process centred around the teen pregnancy event.
Here it was determined that the same codes would have to be analysed in the different interviews to be subsequently carried out so as to examine the teen pregnancy as a dynamic process. The exploration phase consisted of developing coding categories centred on the information from the interviews and the pertinent literature consulted, in which mutual exclusion, homogeneity and belonging were considered, in other words, in line with the intent of examining the dynamic of the same categories before, during and after the pregnancy.
These included emotions, reactions of family members and relatives to news of the pregnancy, relations with family members, the partner or boyfriend, perspectives for the future and self-perception as a mother. The aim here was to succeed in interpreting the data through the social construction of the experiences of participants during pregnancy, motherhood and their married life. In general, the idea was to gain a clear understanding of the context of pregnancy as a dynamic process, focusing on different situations, in order to move from the particular to the general, and to be able to contextualize the group of adolescents interviewed.
The information obtained from the interviews of all of the participants was used to develop some explanations of the context of teen pregnancy. To this end, the data from our research were related to those reported in other studies, always bearing in mind the conceptual framework of the pregnancy and the teenager. The purpose here was to make sense of the information provided by each of our interviews and participants before, during and after the pregnancy. An intergenerational pattern was observed with regard to teen pregnancies.
Family relations were diverse and, although the nuclear family was predominant, there were also extended, uniparental and blended families.
The relationship of the teen with the family was of a diverse nature. There were some instances of poor relations between the girl and her mother or stepfather, which were characterized by arguing, discord and little real communication within the household. For example, year-old Sandra married commented:. I did not want any more mistreatment or physical abuse, and that is why I left… I have two half-brothers, both younger, who were treated better than me. My stepfather hit me in front of my mother and she did not say anything.
These teens had their material needs covered, but did not like it when they were prohibited from going to parties or arriving home late. This situation was described by year-old Yaqui cohabiting with her boyfriend :. Everything was all right with my mom— she did her thing and I did mine. It is just that I was fed up because she did not let me go to parties. This situation is represented by year-old Jazmin single :. I felt very restricted… my father kept a close eye on me.
Even though I did not love Pedro [father of her child] … I had relations with him. I did so because my parents did not like him. One characteristic that has been documented within the context of the pregnancy in the adolescents is dropping out of school, a situation that was confirmed with our interviews: there were cases in which the participants did not like school and before they got pregnant they had already left school, while others did so during pregnancy.
On becoming pregnant, 18 teen girls dropped out of school. Another 11 had decided to start working or simply stay at home and rest. As Carmen, a year-old living with her boyfriend reported:. The average level of education of the teen girls was short of completing middle school 9 years , this level being similar the same or less to levels in the previous generation. The mothers of these girls were employed outside of the home as servants, street vendors, seamstresses or workers. Consequently, they spent time with their teen daughters only on weekends.
In three cases, the mothers were widows or single and had to migrate to other cities while their daughter stayed with the grandparents. The level of education of the girls was the same as, or lower than, that of their parents. As year-old Silvia described:. My mom and my dad studied until high school, but I did not even finish it.
School was not for me. The adolescents reported that they felt lonely and indifferent to their parents, who only intervened to scold them about normal fun activities for teenagers. The girls who were an only child had adequate economic support, but communication with their mothers was commonly antagonistic. As year-old Rosa said:. I was always fighting with my mother. I got along well with my dad since I almost never saw him. He leaves early and arrives home late. Of great importance is that 21 of the teenagers stated that they had sexual relations with the intention of seeking love.
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In this sense, the teenagers emphasized that their loneliness and the indifference and repression that they perceived from their mother and father led them to secretly go out with a boy, resulting in brief dating periods before sexual relations began. The encounters between the teen girl and her boyfriend generally took place when the parents and relatives were not at home, and they usually met on the street corner closest to her house. The young couple would then covertly enter the house. The boyfriends were in most cases school or work mates, and some times neighbours.
However, the beginning of sexual relations was motivated by anger or curiosity for some participants. Even though the teens had the stated intention of starting their own families, this situation was not expected so soon. The girls stated that they had unprotected sexual relations out of feelings of love, even rejecting some form of birth control when offered by the boyfriend.
Lizeth, 17 years old, only child. When the girl began going out with a boy, the relatives noted a radical change in her behaviour. She became temperamental often crying , aggressive, sad and indifferent, and insisted on permission to leave the house with greater frequency.
When they begin to always ask permission to leave the house, you have to be very careful… It had already been several months that Lucero asked for permission, and very frequently, to go somewhere with her girlfriends… she was always angry and cried about everything. Regina, 50 years old, mother of Lucero. The reactions to the pregnancy were varied. Of the 29 cases, only five boys did not provide economic support to the pregnant girl.
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Sixteen couples started living together since the rest were not permitted to do so by their parents. With him [her boyfriend], what can she expect? He does not even have enough to buy food. She will stay with us! I will support her.
Juan, 38 years old, father of Jazmin. The usual pattern for the parents, upon hearing of the pregnancy, was to experience anger, sadness and disappointment, which identifies the cycle of feelings, including acceptance, and even the encouragement of an early marriage. As Fabiola a year-old said:. My mother and all of my aunts got married the right way, even though some of them no longer live with the father of their children.
The grounds for this decision were that they, too, were given support when in the same situation. In some instances, the support provided by the parents jeopardized the economic stability of the family because the mother decided to leave a paying job to take care of her daughter. In the majority of pregnancies, the girl decided to start living with her boyfriend who promised marriage in the future. Yet after one or 2 years of living together, none of the couples had married, due to economic reasons.
In fact, three of the teen mothers had separated from their partner before the end of the study. Sixteen girls moved several times, changing between virilocality and uxorilocality.
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The single mothers remained at the home of their family, thus generating much greater expenses for their parents. It should be clarified that among the reasons given for constant changes of residence during and after pregnancy were arguments and problems with in-laws. The girls subjectively experienced this situation in different ways, with some feeling a constraint on their freedom following the birth of their child.