The barriers to access for maternal health care amongst pregnant adolescents in the Mitchells Plain Sub-district
Erasmus, Michelle Olivia
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Adolescent pregnancy holds numerous health and social risks for mother and child. Adolescent access to maternal health services is of vital importance to ensure that pregnant adolescents receive timely and effective health care. Evidence suggests that adolescents tend to seek medical care late in their pregnancies and attend fewer than the recommended four antenatal visits. This results in missed opportunities to improve maternal and newborn health due to untreated sexually transmitted diseases and uninhibited mother-to-child HIV transmission, resulting in low birth weight among other poor pregnancy outcomes. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of adolescent births worldwide, in keeping with evidence that low-to-middle income countries have the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy. Adolescent pregnancy in South Africa remains a public health concern, and the Mitchells Plain sub-district has a particularly high rate of adolescent pregnancy. The aim of this study was thus to explore the barriers to access for maternal health care services amongst pregnant adolescents in the Mitchells Plain sub-district.