Comparison of adolescent pregnancy outcomes by prenatal care source

J Reprod Med. 1993 May;38(5):375-80.


To determine whether a difference existed in prepregnancy characteristics, pregnancy course and immediate outcomes of pregnant adolescents based on source of prenatal care, we retrospectively reviewed the pregnancies of all adolescents aged < or = 17 years who delivered from 1985 to 1986 at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. The sample of 1,080 included 660 (61%) teenagers who participated in a teen pregnancy clinic, 277 (26%) teenagers who participated in traditional prenatal care and 143 (13%) who received no prenatal care. Teen clinic participants differed from the other two groups in that they were more likely to be unmarried (P = .02) and to be primagravidae (P = .05). Teenagers receiving care were also of higher gynecologic age than those not receiving care (P = .02). Ethnic distribution, chronologic age, education completed and smoking behavior were similar among the three groups. Although teen clinic participants began prenatal care earlier and had more visits than traditional care participants, both groups had similar pregnancy outcomes. Groups receiving prenatal care had better outcomes (Apgar scores, preterm births, low and very low birth weight) than those who received no care.

PIP: A retrospective review of pregnancy characteristics, course, and outcome in the 1080 adolescents aged 17 years or under who delivered at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, in 1985-86 revealed a lack of significant differences between those who participated in a teen pregnancy clinic and women who received traditional prenatal care. 660 (61%) of adolescent subjects attended the teen clinic, where they received comprehensive services from nurses, physicians assistants, obstetricians-gynecologists, a social worker, and a nutritionist, and 277 (26%) attended a satellite clinic available to women of all ages that did not provide supplemental services; the remaining 143 (13%) received no prenatal care. Overall, the ethnic composition of study subjects was: African American, 30.5%; Hispanic, 23.5%; and Anglo, 46.%. The teen clinic patients were less likely to be married or multigravid. Significantly more (45.2%) teen clinic adolescents began prenatal care in the first trimester than their counterparts at the traditional clinic (19.5%) and had a higher number of total visits. 34.1% of teens in the former group compared to only 17.0% of those in the latter group received a passing score on the Adequacy of Prenatal Care Index. Outcome variables were generally similar for the two prenatal care groups, but significantly better than those recorded for teens with no prenatal care. 35% of infants born to women with no prenatal care were preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) compared to a 10.5% rate for teen clinic mothers and 8.7% for traditional clinic mothers. The mean birthweight was 2834 gm in the no care group compared to 3169 gm and 3195 gm in the teen and traditional care clinics, respectively. Finally, the percentage of stillborn infants was 2.8% in the no care group compared to 0.8% in the teen clinic group and 0.4% at the traditional clinic. Although this study failed to identify the expected clear-cut medical advantages to attending a specialized teen prenatal clinic, they may be unmeasured social and emotional benefits such as a more positive attitude toward childrearing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Texas