Background Teenage mothers are confronted with the double task of passing through the teenage phase and, at the same time, familiarizing themselves with the requirements of motherhood. The characteristics connected with the teenage stage mostly affect the capability of teenage mothers to adapt to the role of being a first-time mother. The essential role of midwives is to provide care for women during pregnancy and motherhood, through coaching, reassurance, supervision and social support. Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) are also valued as essential actors in maternal health, providing social support and other antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care in developing countries. The study aimed to explore a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of midwives and traditional birth attendants in caring for pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers.
Methods A descriptive phenomenological framework based on a lifeworld approach was used, with in-depth interviews as the method of data collection. The setting of the study was a municipal hospital and the seven districts in the Hohoe municipality, Ghana. Six midwives and six TBAs aged 37 to 59, with experience in caring for pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers, were interviewed. Data collected from the midwives and the TBAs was analyzed using Giorgi’s data analysis process.
Results The general structure of the phenomenon can be described in two main themes with four sub-themes. The first main theme, ‘The midwife and the traditional birth attendant as being the mother figure’, included ‘Emotional and financial support’, and ‘Creating trust and rapport’. The second main theme, ‘The frightened teenage woman’, included ‘Unprepared: not ready for pregnancy and motherhood’ and ‘Unsupported: relationship with parents’.
Conclusion The midwives and traditional birth attendants played the role of being a mother to these teenagers by creating trust and supporting them financially. The teenagers were not prepared for pregnancy and motherhood, and that some parents did not create good relationships with their daughters. The study has the potential to increase knowledge and understanding of midwives and TBAs’ lived experience of caring for teenagers during pregnancy and early motherhood and therefore has implications for practice, education, and research.
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