Adolescent pregnancy has serious public health implications, with far-reaching outcomes extending past the mother and child and affecting society. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of adolescent pregnancy in Jos, Nigeria.
We conducted in-depth interviews with 17 adolescents and young women ages 16–24 y in Jos, Nigeria who had experienced at least one teenage pregnancy. Participants were purposively recruited; each provided written informed consent before interviewing. We identified codes and themes using an inductive analytic approach.
Among the 17 participants, 14 had never been married and 10 had completed senior secondary school. Participants commonly associated adolescent pregnancy with inappropriate behaviour, immaturity and premarital childbearing. The main risk factors for adolescent pregnancy were lack of sexual and reproductive health education and parental communication. Pregnancy evoked feelings of fear, shame, anxiety and depression. Most pregnancies resulted in live births, while some participants had stillbirths or induced abortion. Some participants successfully completed their education post-pregnancy.
Adolescents in this study lacked adequate sexual and reproductive health education that could empower them to make informed decisions and take action regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Multifaceted actions to address reproductive health education gaps can contribute to reducing adolescent pregnancy in Nigeria.