Experiences of pregnancy in adolescence of internally displaced women in Bogota: an ethnographic approach

Yazmin Cadena-Camargo*, Anja Krumeich, Maria Claudia Duque-Paramo, Klasien Horstman

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Pregnancy in adolescence is higher among internally displaced women in Colombia than non-displaced women. It is defined as a problem with significant negative outcomes by both biomedical and epidemiological approaches. However, little is known about pregnancy during adolescence from the perspective of women who experienced this in the specific context of armed conflict and displacement. Aim This article focuses on how internally displaced women understand their experiences of pregnancy in adolescence in the context of armed conflict through an ethnographic approach in a receptor community of internally displaced women in Bogota, Colombia. Methods Based on 10 years of experience in the community, we conducted 1 year of fieldwork, using an ethnographic approach. We collected life stories of 20 internally displaced women through in-depth interviews and ran 8 workshops with them and other women from the community. We used thematic analysis to analyse the responses of internally-displaced women and understand how they made meaning around their experiences of adolescent pregnancy in the context of displacement. Results The main themes that emerged from participants' experiences include rural violence, early family life (characterized by violence and mistreatment at home), meanings of pregnancy at an early age (including being challenged and feelings of love), and reactions to their pregnancies during adolescence (such as stigmatization) from their families and partners. Conclusion Our analysis of the in-depth interviews and the workshops suggests that adolescent pregnancy among women who are internally displaced has complex dynamics, characterized by the violent context of the rural areas, but primarily by the violence experienced during their childhood. The experience of pregnancy during adolescence brings feelings of ownership and also challenges, together with the forced displacement. This understanding will provide insights for policy makers and healthcare providers on how to work with this specific population who have experienced pregnancy in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Teenage pregnancies
  • Internally displaced persons (IDPs)
  • LIFE

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