Adolescent childbearing: consequences and interventions

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2012 Aug;24(4):446-52. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e3283557b89.


Purpose of review: Adolescent childbearing in the United States continues to occur at high rates compared with other industrialized nations, despite a recent decline. Adolescent mothers and their offspring are at risk for negative outcomes. Recent literature exploring the consequences of teenage childbearing and interventions to ameliorate these consequences are presented.

Recent findings: Negative consequences of adolescent childbearing can impact mothers and their offspring throughout the lifespan. These consequences are likely attributable to social and environmental factors rather than solely to maternal age. Increasing educational attainment, preventing repeat pregnancy and improving mother-child interactions can improve outcomes for mothers and their children. Home, community, school and clinic-based programs are all viable models of service delivery to this population.

Summary: Connecting teen mothers with comprehensive services to meet their social, economic, health and educational needs can potentially improve long-term outcomes for both mothers and their offspring. Programs that deliver care to this population in culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate ways have demonstrated success. Future investigation of parenting interventions with larger sample sizes and that assess multiple outcomes will allow comparison among programs. Explorations of the role of the father and coparenting are also directions for future research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Educational Status
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Parenting*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support
  • United States / epidemiology