Adolescent fertility control has been linked with educational completion and long-term economic success. This study evaluated the effect of short-term prenatal intervention on selected maternal and child indexes with first-time pregnant adolescents. Birth patterns were examined over a 5-year period for three groups (N = 216) of adolescents who received varying amounts of prenatal intervention for the index birth. No significant differences between groups were found on number of subsequent births within 5 years, mean time between births, graduation from high school, gestational age, or mean birth weight of infants. Age at first birth was a predictor of the number of subsequent births and subsequent graduation from high school. Grade in school at first pregnancy and total number of births in 5-years were related to high school graduation. Findings support the need for continued intensive community-based collaborative intervention for adolescent mothers during the 5 years after the index birth, the peak childbearing years for these women.
PIP: The authors evaluated the effect of short-term prenatal intervention upon selected maternal and child indexes among 216 first-time pregnant adolescents. Birth patterns over a five-year period were examined in the group of exclusively African American, single females of low socioeconomic status who were younger than 18 years old at the time of their respective index birth during 1984-85. 37 subjects attended one community clinic and participated in eight or more lessons of prenatal education programming through the Lifespan Program, 71 received prenatal care and educational programming for varying amounts of time through the school district's alternative school during fall semester 1984-85, and 108 received prenatal care in the same community clinic as the Lifespan group, but before the launching of the Lifespan Program. No significant differences were identified between groups in the number of subsequent births within five years, mean time between births, graduation from high school, gestational age, or mean birth weight of infants. Lower age at first birth, however, predicted an higher number of subsequent births and failure to graduate from high school. One-third of the girls bore a third or fourth child within five years of the index birth. Lower grade in school at first pregnancy and relatively high total number of births during the follow-up period were related to a failure to graduate from high school. These findings support the need for continued intensive community-based collaborative intervention for adolescent mothers during the five years after the index birth.