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Factors associated with adolescent pregnancy in Maharashtra,India: a mixed-methods study

Shukla, Shruti, Castro Torres, Andrés F., Vasumati Satish, Rucha, Shenderovich, Yulia ORCID:, Omolade Abejirinde, Ibukun-Oluwa and Steinert, Janina Isabel 2023. Factors associated with adolescent pregnancy in Maharashtra,India: a mixed-methods study. Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters 31 (1) , 2249284. 10.1080/26410397.2023.2249284

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Reducing the adolescent birth rate is paramount in achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, given that pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of mortality among young women aged 15–19. This study aimed to explore predictors of adolescent pregnancy among girls aged 13–18 years in Maharashtra, India, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a mixed-methods approach, primary data were gathered from two regions in Maharashtra between February and April 2022. Quantitative data from face-to-face interviews with 3049 adolescent girls assessed various household, social, and behavioural factors, as well as the socioeconomic and health impacts of COVID-19. Qualitative data from seven in-depth interviews were analysed thematically. The findings reveal that girls from low socioeconomic backgrounds face a higher likelihood of adolescent pregnancy. Multivariable analysis identified several factors associated with increased risk, including older age, being married, having more sexual partners, and experiencing COVID-19-related economic vulnerability. On the other hand, rural residence, secondary and higher secondary education of the participants, and higher maternal education were associated with a decreased likelihood of adolescent pregnancy. In the sub-sample of 565 partnered girls, partner's emotional abuse also correlated with higher rates of adolescent pregnancy. Thematic analysis of qualitative data identified four potential pathways leading to adolescent pregnancy: economic hardships and early marriage; personal safety, social norms, and early marriage; social expectations; and lack of knowledge on contraceptives. The findings underscore the significance of social position and behavioural factors and the impact of external shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic in predicting adolescent pregnancy in Maharashtra, India.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2023
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2023 06:27

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