Does young maternal age increase the risk of adverse obstetric, fetal and neonatal outcomes: a cohort study

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2009 Dec;147(2):151-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2009.08.006. Epub 2009 Sep 4.


Objective: To determine whether young maternal age is associated with increased risks of adverse obstetric, fetal and perinatal outcomes.

Study design: Register-based study using the data from a computerized database of a University Hospital for the years 1994-2001. The study population included 8514 primiparous women aged less than 31 who delivered a singleton infant. Using maternal age as a continuous variable, crude and adjusted relative risks (RRs) were estimated for each maternal and perinatal outcome.

Results: Crude and adjusted RRs of anaemia during pregnancy and fetal death consistently increased with younger maternal age. After adjustment for confounding factors, RRs (95% confidence interval) of fetal death and anaemia were respectively 1.37 (1.09-1.70) and 1.27 (1.15-1.40) for a 16-year-old compared to a 20-year-old mother. Younger mothers had significantly decreased risks of obstetric complications (preeclampsia, caesarean section, operative vaginal delivery and post-partum haemorrhage). Higher prevalence of prematurity and low birth weight in infants born to teenagers were not attributable to young maternal age after adjustment for confounding factors.

Conclusion: In our population, younger maternal age was significantly and consistently associated to greater risks of fetal death and anaemia and to lower risks of adverse obstetric outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Age*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence
  • Premature Birth / etiology*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult