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J Adolesc Health. 1995 May;16(5):350-3.

Which teen mothers choose Norplant?

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver 80218, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine if there are sociodemographic differences between adolescent mothers who choose to use Norplant after delivery and those who do not. We hypothesized that those adolescent mothers who are at highest risk for repeat adolescent pregnancy are least likely to select Norplant as a postpartum contraceptive.


We prospectively compared the prevalence of epidemiologic risk factors for repeat adolescent pregnancy in a group of 187 consecutively delivered 13-18-year-olds who were enrolled in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, adolescent-oriented maternity program. The study subjects were interviewed at delivery; 100 subsequently had a Norplant inserted (Norplant users). Student's t-tests and chi-square analyses were used to compare Norplant users and refusers.


We found no statistically significant differences between Norplant users and refusers with regard to: age, race, Medicaid, or marital or school status. Compared to Norplant refusers, Norplant users were less likely to be primiparous (79% compared to 90%; p = .04) and more likely to have poor school grades (20% compared to 7%; p = .001). Norplant users were more likely to state that they had had trouble remembering to use contraceptives in the past (32% compared to 14%; p = .005).


These data do not support the study hypothesis and are encouraging because they suggest that Norplant may reduce repeat pregnancy among adolescent parents.


The hypothesis that those adolescent mothers at greatest risk of a repeat unintended pregnancy are the least likely to select Norplant as a postpartum contraceptive was investigated in a prospective study of 187 consecutively delivered 13-18 year olds enrolled in the Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program. After delivery and prior to hospital discharge, teen mothers participated in a structured interview that collected data on known sociodemographic, psychosocial, pregnancy outcome, and family planning risk factors associated with repeat adolescent pregnancy. There were no statistically significant differences between the 100 postpartum Norplant acceptors and the 87 refusers in terms of age, race, marital status, Medicaid, school enrollment, career goals, social support, or pregnancy and neonatal outcome; however, Norplant users were less likely than refusers to have only one child (79% versus 90%) and more likely to have poor school grades (20% versus 7%). Adolescents who had Norplant inserted after delivery were less likely to express a desire for more children in the next two years than their counterparts who selected other methods. Finally, Norplant acceptors were significantly more likely than refusers to have tried other contraceptive methods (81% versus 63%) and to have experienced problems with other methods (69% versus 46%). 32% of Norplant acceptors compared to only 14% of refusers identified problems remembering to use other methods consistently. Although the teen mothers in this study with a high loading of risk factors for a repeat pregnancy were just as likely to accept Norplant as those considered at lower risk, their participation in a comprehensive adolescent-oriented maternity program may have limited the range of intragroup variability.

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