Effects of a prenatal care intervention for adolescent mothers on birth weight, repeat pregnancy, and educational outcomes at one year postpartum

J Perinat Educ. Winter 2002;11(1):35-8. doi: 10.1624/105812402X88588.


About one-third of adolescent mothers receive inadequate prenatal care, and babies born to young mothers are more likely to be of low birth weight. The objective of this study is to evaluate a peer-centered prenatal care program for adolescent mothers. Pregnant adolescents were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group in a mastery modeling peer-support intervention designed to improve long- and short-term perinatal outcomes. A sample of 282 urban pregnant adolescents (94% African American, 4% Caucasian, 2% other) participated in the study. Participants were recruited from five clinics located mainly in Detroit, Michigan. Participants in the experimental group received care in a small group setting and learned to perform critical measurements with a peer partner during prenatal visits. Participants in the control group received individual prenatal care in the same clinics. Outcome measures included birth weight, years of schooling completed at one year postpartum, planned and unplanned pregnancy at one year postpartum, and employment and school attendance at one year postpartum. Mothers in the experimental group had a lower rate of low birth weight (6.6% vs. 12.5%, p=0.08). The rate of unplanned pregnancy was also lower for adolescents in the experimental group (13.4% vs. 15.9%), although this difference was not statistically significant. Adolescents who participated in the intervention were more likely to have continued their education during the pregnancy and the postpartum year. The mastery modeling, peer-centered, prenatal care program produced some positive pregnancy outcomes for adolescent mothers.