Pregnant adolescents at risk: sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted disease prevalence

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jan;188(1):63-70. doi: 10.1067/mob.2003.119.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the level of high-risk sexual behaviors and the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea among pregnant adolescents.

Study design: These analyses used data from 203 pregnant and 209 nonpregnant adolescents who were recruited from public health clinics. Data sources included interviewer-administered questionnaires, ligase chain reaction tests for chlamydia/gonorrhea in the third trimester of pregnancy, and state health department reports of chlamydia/gonorrhea. Statistical analyses included logistic regression.

Results: Pregnant adolescents were significantly more likely to have not used condoms during sexual intercourse in the past 30 days compared with nonpregnant adolescents, although other sexual risk behaviors were reduced. Nineteen percent of pregnant adolescents had chlamydia or gonorrhea diagnosed during the pregnancy.

Conclusion: Pregnant adolescents have high levels of sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy, and many adolescents use condoms inconsistently. Prenatal care providers may be in a unique position to decrease sexually transmitted diseases among pregnant adolescents by encouraging the reduction of risk behaviors and aggressively screening for sexually transmitted diseases as part of routine prenatal care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires