Contraception usage and timing of pregnancy among pregnant teenagers in Cape Town, South Africa

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2016 Jun;133(3):334-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.10.011. Epub 2016 Jan 28.


Objective: To evaluate knowledge and use of contraception among pregnant teenagers in the Cape Town metropolitan area.

Methods: A cross-sectional study enrolled women aged 16 to 19 years who were pregnant and attending prenatal clinics, and prenatal and labor wards at regional hospitals and midwife-run obstetric clinics in the Cape Town area between March 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011. Data were collected using an administered questionnaire.

Results: The study enrolled 314 participants. Of the participants, 240 (76.4%) felt their pregnancies had occurred at the "wrong time" but only 38 (12.1%) were using contraception at the time of conception. The form of contraception that participants most commonly had knowledge of was injectable hormonal contraception (274 [87.3%]). Contraception use was low, with 126 (40.1%) participants having never used contraception. The forms of contraception used most commonly were the male condom (106 [33.8%]) and injectable contraception (98 [31.2%]). The majority of participants found it easy to get contraception (192 [61.1%]) and felt that information regarding contraception was readily available (233 [74.2%]).

Conclusion: Contraception use is suboptimal but this may not simply be a reflection of ineffective family-planning services. Further research is needed to fully explain the lack of contraceptive use in this population.

Keywords: Adolescents; Contraception; Pregnancy; Teenagers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Contraception / classification
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Gravidity
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • South Africa
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult