Responses to Unintended Pregnancy among Urban Adolescents in Nairobi Slums: Results from a Formative Study

Joyce N. Mumah, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Caroline Kabiru, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Chimaraoke O. Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Carol K. Mukiira, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Though previous studies highlight the vulnerability of adolescents living in urban slums to unintended pregnancies, existing studies fail to capture how adolescents manage and deal with the consequences of unintended pregnancy. Using qualitative data conducted among adolescents 15-19, in two urban slums in Nairobi; we seek to investigate this gap. Findings suggest that unpreparedness for parental roles, pursuit of education, stigma of carrying a pregnancy and reactions of parents were factors that influence the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Decision to keep the pregnancy was influenced not only by parental and partner support, but also availability of external assistance. Whereas raising a child born out of an unintended pregnancy provided strong motivation to improve financial circumstances, pursuit of this improvement revolved around strategies that further expose adolescents to unintended pregnancies. Study findings underscore that addressing structural factors will have significant direct impacts on reducing risky sexual behaviors and its consequences.

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Presented in Session 167: Adolescent and Youth Risk Behaviors and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa