This research aimed to understand the contemporary context and realities of adolescents in Tonga who face unplanned pregnancy and motherhood. Issues facing adolescent girls regarding sexual and reproductive health are implicated in social, cultural and economic development, and in human rights imperatives in the region. Young women in the Pacific navigate sexual and reproductive decision-making in increasingly complex social and cultural contexts, and these realities can only be adequately understood through investigation of the lived experiences and perspectives of the young women and girls themselves.
In addition to personal narratives, other relevant contextual information includes access to sexual and reproductive health education and services; access to contraception; enablers and constraints to sexual health decision-making and action; traditional knowledge and practices of fertility control; and the role of older women in these matters.
To understand the context and realities in Tonga, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 15 participants aged 16–19 who had experienced an unplanned pregnancy; 11 grandmothers or women aged over 50; and one focus group discussion with grandmothers or women aged over 50. The sample was non-random and as such it cannot claim, nor was it intended, to be representative of all unplanned adolescent pregnancies in Tonga. All potentially identifying data from interviews was deleted or altered at the time of transcription. Pseudonyms have been used in the results section to protect the participants’ identities.