Introduction: Although underage pregnancies often end in induced abortion, data on girls who undergo termination of pregnancy are lacking. Our aim was to identify determinants of underage induced abortion and compare them with those of childbirth.
Material and methods: All girls born in 1987 in Finland surviving the perinatal period (n = 29 041) were included in the study and divided into three study groups: Girls undergoing induced abortion (n = 1041, 3.6%) or childbirth (n = 395, 1.4%) at <18 years of age and girls with no underage pregnancies (n = 27 605, 95.0%).
Results: Shared risk factors of underage induced abortion and childbirth included early onset behavioral and emotional disorders [adjusted OR 1.9 (1.4-2.5) and 2.7 (95% CI 1.8-3.9)], a history of foster care [1.5 [1.1-1.9] and 3.0 [2.3-4.1)], and socioeconomic factors, including living in a family receiving income support [1.8 (1.5-2.1) and 3.4 (2.7-4.4)], respectively. Specific risk factors of underage induced abortion were psychoactive substance use disorders [2.2 (1.3-3.5)], having a mother who smoked during pregnancy [1.5 (1.3-1.8)] or had undergone induced abortion [1.8 (1.5-2.2)]. Coping with a chronic physical illness [0.7 (0.5-0.9)], and perinatal problems [0.6 (0.4-0.7)] were inversely associated with underage induced abortion.
Conclusions: The traditionally acknowledged determinants of underage childbirth played a less prominent role in induced abortion. Novel risk factors of underage induced abortion were found, including severe substance abuse and adverse maternal reproductive history, and should be addressed at all levels offering youth healthcare and social welfare services.
Keywords: Abortion; epidemiology; induced; pregnancy in adolescence; reproductive health.
© 2016 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.