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The Voices of Teen Mothers: The Experience of Repeat Pregnancy

Herrman, Judith W. PhD, RN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: July-August 2006 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 243–249
feature article

Purpose To explore the insights of young mothers with regard to their life aspirations, the changes in their lives as a result of parenting, and their beliefs of the impact of repeat pregnancy on their aspirations and life course.

Study Design and Methods Ethnographic, descriptive research with a purposive sample of key informants (n = 16), using semistructured interviews to solicit rich qualitative data. Iterative methods, recursive data sifting, and Ethnograph 5.0 were used in data analysis.

Results Young mothers were asked questions about four domains of their lives: (a) their existing life context, including support and background characteristics, (b) their relationships, including family, friends, and intimate others, (c) their vocation, including education, work, and money, and (d) their personal characteristics and parenting. Young mothers' perceptions reflected costs, rewards, and neutral aspects associated with young mothering and repeat pregnancies. The three themes that emerged from the interview data included Looking for or finding a better life, Making a hard life harder, and No big difference in my life.

Clinical Implications Nurses may use these results to understand better the young mothers with whom they work, to develop intervention programs, and to support policies that attend to the needs of young mothers. By responding to young mothers' issues and challenges from their perspective, nurses may be more effective in preventing or delaying repeat pregnancy in the teen years.

If we are to help young women avoid repeat pregnancies, it's important to understand their motivations, needs, and desires. This nurse spoke to the young women to find out just those things.

Judith W. Herrman is an Assistant Director, School of Nursing, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. She can be reached via e-mail at

There is no conflict of interest associated with this work.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.