Abstract Young women often have difficulty accessing and correctly using contraception. However, these difficulties are not primarily the result of lack of knowledge or experience of contraception. In this study, nine adolescent mothers were interviewed about their experience of contraception before and after the birth of their children. These adolescent women faced barriers to effective contraceptive use before the birth of their children. These barriers included indifference to the possibility of pregnancy, perceived invulnerability to pregnancy, and forgetting to use contraception regularly. Analysis also revealed that during the time these women were sexually active prior to pregnancy, many had used a range of strategies to overcome these barriers to effective contraception, including using adult support, allowing an adult to take responsibility for contraception, and using multiple methods of contraception to cover for contraceptive failure. The strategies used by these women to delay childbearing indicate valuable areas for further research in preventing unplanned adolescent pregnancy.