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Teen pregnancy: Tailoring a pregnancy app to the needs of pregnant adolescents

Teenage pregnancy is an important issue; adolescence is associated with various challenges and changes, as a result, pregnant adolescents have fewer cognitive, emotional, and social resources to meet the challenges of pregnancy. Stress and distress are often associated with these challenges and many adolescents lack the coping strategies to manage them. Research suggests that stress during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of both mother and child. E-health interventions are being used more frequently to support adolescents with their challenges however, only a small number of these are aimed at pregnant adolescents. Psychosocial interventions for pregnant adolescents have been developed and evaluated, and most of them aim to provide social support, access to professionals and pregnancy related resources. Psychosocial interventions targeting adolescents in general often focus on improving or maintaining their emotional and social wellbeing. E-health interventions are a relatively new yet highly successful mode of support for teenagers as they are easily accessible, less time consuming, inexpensive and therefore more widely available than face to face interventions. ‘Positively Pregnant’ is an E-health intervention using a resilience-focussed model to improve the wellbeing of pregnant women. The purpose of this study was to introduce the ‘Positively Pregnant app’ to pregnant adolescents and professionals working alongside them, to gain their feedback on how we might tailor the app to the needs of pregnant adolescents. Three professionals working alongside pregnant adolescents were recruited through email and social media. One parenting teen and one pregnant teen were recruited from their Teen Parent Units (TPU). Feedback was given in individual interviews. Participants were asked their opinion on the challenges that pregnant adolescents experience, the supports they need to manage these challenges and then to give feedback on the ‘Positively Pregnant app along with suggestions for how we can tailor the app to the needs of pregnant teenagers. Three key themes were identified for the challenges and needs of pregnant adolescents: Emotional wellbeing and support, Access to resources, and Cognitive immaturity. Participants responded that the app appeared to be easy to use, interactive and helpful to pregnant teens. Only the professional participants responded with negative feedback which was that the app could be overwhelming for pregnant teens in terms of the layout and wording. Lastly, all five participants provided recommendations for changes, such as: downsizing the app, making it possible to use alongside the users healthcare provider and, adding teen specific and pregnancy related material.
Type of thesis
Bealing, J. (2019). Teen pregnancy: Tailoring a pregnancy app to the needs of pregnant adolescents (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12932
The University of Waikato
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