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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1992 Dec;99(12):969-73.

Early teenage pregnancies in Hull.

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Department of Gynaecology, Princess Royal Hospital, Hull, UK.



To determine the pattern, obstetric outcome and factors that predispose to pregnancies in young teenagers in Hull.


Retrospective study of case records of pregnancies from 1977 to 1988 in girls aged 16 years or less and in a control group of nulliparous women aged 20-24 years.


Hull health district hospitals.


1,660 pregnant teenagers and 3,576 nulliparas aged 20-24 years.


Ages at pregnancy, number of pregnancies per year, gestational age at booking and delivery, antenatal complications, mode of delivery, utilization of contraceptives and some social factors.


Of the 1,660 pregnancies in the young adolescents, 59-6% were terminations. The youngest girl was 11. The average annual incidence of early teenage pregnancies was 10.5 per 1,000 girls aged 10-16 compared to 6.4 per 1,000 in England and Wales. Physical characteristics and pattern of antenatal care were similar in the study and control groups. Anaemia was 2.53 times as common in teenagers (95% CI 2.19-2.9; P < 0.0001) while hypertension alone was 1.7 times as frequent (95% CI 1.28-2.4; P = 0.002). Pre-eclampsia and proteinuric disorders were similar in the two groups. Apart from prolonged pregnancy, which was significantly less common in the index group, other gestational ages at delivery and birthweights were the same in both groups. The caesarean section rate in the index group was 0.56 times that in the control group (95% CI 0.4-0.75; P < 0.0001) but forceps deliveries were 2.37 times as common in the index group (95% CI 1.80-3.12; P < 0.0001). The uncorrected perinatal mortality rates were 13.6/1000 and 15.7/1000 in the index and control groups respectively.


Early teenage pregnancies are common in Hull and, contrary to previous reports, are physically well tolerated by the early adolescents who book early and attend antenatal clinics regularly. Ineffective utilization and ignorance of contraceptive methods are contributory factors. We recommend that emphasis should be placed on providing contraceptive services for teenagers and adopting a more purposeful and holistic approach to sex education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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