Are teenage pregnancies at high risk? A comparison study in a developing country

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Mar;285(3):573-7. doi: 10.1007/s00404-011-1987-6. Epub 2011 Jul 26.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare obstetric and perinatal outcome in teenage and non-teenage pregnancies.

Methods: We analyzed retrospective data of 15,498 pregnant patients who delivered from March 2008 to April 2009 in Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, a referral tertiary care and teaching hospital in Pondicherry, South India. Girls aged ≤ 19 years were compared with pregnancy outcomes in women aged > 19 years who delivered in the same hospital during the study period. A total of 620 teenage pregnancies were compared with 14,878 non-teenage women. The obstetric and perinatal outcome was compared in the study and control groups using t test with Yates correction. We calculated Odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence intervals(CI) and p values; p < 0.005 was considered significant.

Results: The incidence of teenage pregnancy in the study was 4%. A signicant proportion of teenage mothers were in their first pregnancies and their mean age was 18.04 years. Our study showed a significantly higher incidence of anaemia, past dates, premature rupture of membranes (PROM), normal vaginal delivery, episiotomy, low birth weight, and a significantly lower incidence of caesarean sections/perineal tears in teenage mothers compared to other mothers. In contrast, the incidence of hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction of fetus, pre-term labour and postpartum haemorrhage were similar in both the groups.

Conclusion: The data in our study should throw more light on the current thinking of the obstetrical problems facing teenage mothers, in which some of our results support and others refute several long held beliefs about the risks in teenage pregnancy. Early booking, adequate antenatal care and delivery by trained people should improve the obstetric and perinatal outcome in teenage pregnancies, which is still an unresolved problem inspite of various government programmes in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia / epidemiology
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries
  • Episiotomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Perinatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Perineum / injuries
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Young Adult