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Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Nov;38(5):739-46.

Maternal nutritional status and adolescent pregnancy outcome.


To investigate the determinants of low birth weight of infants born to adolescent mothers, we studied the obstetric population attended at the Maternity Hospital of Lima, Peru. From this population we selected for study a sample of 1256 adolescent mothers ranging in age from 12 to 25 yr. The study included anthropometric and biochemical measurements used to evaluate nutritional status and physiological maturity of the mother and newborn. Findings from the present research indicate that the low birth weight of infants born to adolescent mothers is not due to premature delivery (short gestation) or low gynecological maturity. Furthermore, young adolescent mothers had smaller and thinner newborns than those born to older women who were adjusted for nutritional status during pregnancy and at delivery. That is, despite the similar nutritional status among the young adolescent mothers, the availability of nutrients for the accumulation of calories in the fetus (measured by skinfold thickness) was less than that of older women. Furthermore, the pregnancy weight gain associated with an optimal or average newborn weight is greater for young teenagers than for older women. These findings support the hypothesis that among rapidly growing teenagers the nutritional requirements of pregnancy may be greater than those of older women, and that this increased requirement competes with the growth needs of the fetus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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