Factors that influence the uptake of postnatal care among adolescent girls: a qualitative evidence synthesis

Javadi, Dena, Sacks, Emma, Brizuela, Vanessa, Finlayson, Kenneth William orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1287-7630, Crossland, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1063-8123, Langlois, Etienne V, Ziegler, Daniela, Chandra-Mouli, Venkatraman and Bonet, Mercedes (2023) Factors that influence the uptake of postnatal care among adolescent girls: a qualitative evidence synthesis. BMJ Global Health, 8 (Suppl).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2022-011560


Background Adolescent pregnancy is associated with increased risk of maternal and child morbidity and mortality globally. Access to safe, appropriate and affordable antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care (PNC) is essential in mitigating this risk. PNC is an often undervalued, underused, and understudied component of the continuum of maternal health services; however, it provides an important opportunity for adolescent girls to have access to health information and resources as they navigate the transition to motherhood and/or recovery from childbirth. This qualitative evidence synthesis seeks to highlight the experiences and perspectives of adolescent girls and their partners in accessing and using routine PNC.

Methods Papers were selected from a primary review on PNC where a global search of databases was conducted to identify studies with qualitative data focused on PNC utilisation. Within this primary review, a subset of studies focused on adolescents was tagged for subanalysis. A data extraction form drawing on an a priori framework was used to extract data from each study. Review findings were grouped across studies and mapped onto relevant themes, which were then adapted, as appropriate, to best reflect emergent themes from included studies.

Results Of 662 papers identified for full text review, 15 were included in this review on adolescents’ experiences. Fourteen review findings were mapped onto four themes including: resources and access, social norms, experiences of care, and tailored support needs.

Conclusion Improving uptake of PNC by adolescent girls requires multipronged approaches in improving availability of and access to adolescent-sensitive maternal health services and reducing feelings of shame and stigma in the postpartum period. Much should be done to address structural barriers to access, but tangible steps to improving the quality and responsiveness of available services can be taken immediately.

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