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Pediatrics. 1981 Jan;67(1):146-50.

Teenaged and pre-teenaged pregnancies: consequences of the fetal-maternal competition for nutrients.


The study attempted to determine whether the growth needs of young mothers compete with the growth needs of their fetuses for available nutrients. In a large prospective study, 10- to 16-year-old mothers had significant smaller newborns at term than older mothers when the various maternal age groups were matched for prepregnancy body size and pregnancy weight gain. Five percent of the urines of 10- to 14-year-old mothers had 2+ or greater acetone vs only 2% of the urines of 17- to 32-year-old mothers (P less than .001). Acetonuria has been shown to be a marker for high perinatal mortality in undernourished gestations, and it correlated with a high perinatal mortality in the present study. The growth retardation found in the newborns of very young mothers disappeared during childhood.

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