Volume 133, Issue 3 p. 334-337
Clinical articles

Contraception usage and timing of pregnancy among pregnant teenagers in Cape Town, South Africa

Linda R. Vollmer

Corresponding Author

Linda R. Vollmer

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Corresponding author at: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Stellenbosch, P.O. Box 19081, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa. Tel.: + 27 21 938 9209; fax: + 27 21 938 9849.Search for more papers by this author
Zephne M. van der Spuy

Zephne M. van der Spuy

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

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First published: 28 January 2016
Citations: 6



To evaluate knowledge and use of contraception among pregnant teenagers in the Cape Town metropolitan area.


A cross-sectional study enrolled women aged 16 to 19 years who were pregnant and attending prenatal clinics, and prenatal and labor wards at regional hospitals and midwife-run obstetric clinics in the Cape Town area between March 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011. Data were collected using an administered questionnaire.


The study enrolled 314 participants. Of the participants, 240 (76.4%) felt their pregnancies had occurred at the “wrong time” but only 38 (12.1%) were using contraception at the time of conception. The form of contraception that participants most commonly had knowledge of was injectable hormonal contraception (274 [87.3%]). Contraception use was low, with 126 (40.1%) participants having never used contraception. The forms of contraception used most commonly were the male condom (106 [33.8%]) and injectable contraception (98 [31.2%]). The majority of participants found it easy to get contraception (192 [61.1%]) and felt that information regarding contraception was readily available (233 [74.2%]).


Contraception use is suboptimal but this may not simply be a reflection of ineffective family-planning services. Further research is needed to fully explain the lack of contraceptive use in this population.