Teenage Pregnancy: Perspectives of Thai Parents

Monday, 30 October 2017: 4:05 PM

Warangkana Chatchawet, PhD
Nursing care of Maternal, New born and Midwifery Devision, Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand

Teenage pregnancy or pregnancy at the age of younger than 20 years old is considered an international problem. As in many other countries, the number of teenage pregnancy in Thailand has increased and these teens start having sex at their younger age. Teenage pregnancy in Thailand mainly occurs when they are still in the education system so most impacts often fall on female teens. These include educational impacts, such as getting out of the education system, social impacts, such as being condemned or gossiped by society, and physical and mental health impacts. In addition, their parents are also affected, especially female teens’ parents who must be affected by the pregnancy of their daughters because they are expected by society to take care of their children to behave within the framework of the good society. If these parents are unable to take care of their children within the framework of their society, they will be under pressure as well.

When the family is strengthened, that is, parents understand their children with a good sexual communication with their children, teenage pregnancy can be prevented. In addition, if a pregnant teen dares to tell or consult with his or her parents who in turn act as a source of great support in finding the right solution with their children, the problem of teenage pregnancy will be solved in a better way. It can be seen that the parents are importance for preventing and solving the teenage pregnancy problem.

This article is based on our larger participatory action research which was conducted in the rural area of Songkhla Province, Thailand. A qualitative approach is adopted. Knowing how parents perceive the pregnancy of their teenage children enables health personnel, especially nurses to provide care and advice to these parents so that they can provide care and prevention of pregnancy in their teenage children. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the perspectives of the parents who have had experience regarding child with teenage pregnancy.

The Eighteen participants consisted of ten mothers and eight fathers of women who experienced a teenage pregnancy. They were aged between 35-55 years (mean = 41.3, SD = 5.7), complete marriage status at 57.1 percent and single mother status at 42.9 percent, Buddhists at 71.4 percent and Islam at 28.6 percent, graduated a high school level 57.1 percent, employee career at 71.4 percent, and monthly income of 7000-20000 Baht or US$ 212-606 (mean = 11061.5, SD = 6889.1). In-depth individual interviews using open-ended questions were conducted. Data analysis was carried out through thematic analysis. Member checking was conducting to establish the rigor of the study.

The perception of the parents was differentiated into four themes: feeling and reaction, experiencing with child pregnancy, supporting for child pregnancy, and preventing of teenage pregnancy. The findings suggest that parents can play an important role in reducing their children’s risk for teenage pregnancy. In case of teenage pregnant women, parents are also the positive support by providing encouragement and resources during the period of role-transition. Parents should be encouraged to develop close relationships with their children; however, discussion of sexual issues should be pursued regardless of the perceived closeness of the relationship with teenaged children. Parental non-judgemental attitudes about sexual activity are importance. Therefore, nurses would do well to convey the importance of avoiding judgment with regard to their children’s sexual behaviors as well as offering practical non-judgemental strategies for communicating with one’s children.