How do health professionals support pregnant and young mothers in the community? A selective review of the research literature

Gabrielle Brand, Paul Morrison, Barry Down

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The cultural phenomenon of "teenage pregnancy and motherhood" has been socially constructed and (mis)represented in social and health care discourses for several decades. Despite a growing body of qualitative research that presents an alternative and positive view of young motherhood, there remains a significant gap between pregnant and young women's experience of young motherhood and current global health and social policy that directs service delivery and practice. Aim: This paper aims to heighten awareness of how a negative social construction of young motherhood influences global health and social policy that directs current community health models of practice and care for young mothers in the community. Discussion: There is clear evidence on the vital role social support plays in young women's experience of pregnancy and motherhood, particularly in forming a positive motherhood identity. This discussion paper calls us to start open and honest dialogue on how we may begin to re-vision the 'deficit view' of young motherhood in order to address this contradiction between research evidence, policy discourse and current practice and service provision. Qualitative research that privileges young women's voices by considering the multidimensional experiences of young motherhood is an important step towards moving away from universally prescribed interventions to a non-standard approach that fosters relational and responsive relationships with young mothers that includes addressing the immediate needs of young mothers at the particular time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-178
Number of pages5
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Models of care
  • Pregnancy in adolescence
  • Stigma
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Young mothers

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