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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996 Oct;150(10):1037-43.

Absence of negative attitudes toward childbearing among pregnant teenagers. A risk factor for a rapid repeat pregnancy?

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that adolescent mothers who conceive again during the first postpartum year express more positive attitudes toward childbearing while pregnant than do adolescent mothers who postpone further childbearing.

METHOD:

Prospective, cross-sectional, population-based survey.

DESIGN:

A racially diverse group of 200 consecutively enrolled, poor, pregnant 13- to 18-year-old patients in an adolescent-oriented maternity program were interviewed to determine why they had not used contraceptives prior to the index conception. The study participants were followed up prospectively for the first postpartum year. The data analysis included t tests, chi 2 tests, analysis of variance, and logistic regressions.

RESULTS:

The repeat pregnancy rate was 11.5% during the first postpartum year. As hypothesized, those who became pregnant again were more likely to have expressed positive attitudes toward childbearing during the index pregnancy (60.9% vs 39.6%; P = .05; odds ratio = 2.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.96-5.90). In addition, those who conceived again were more likely to have had a prior miscarriage, dropped out of school, abused illicit substances, moved away from home, and reported inadequate family support during the index pregnancy, and were less likely to plan to use levonorgestrel (Norplant) following delivery. The best model for predicting repeat pregnancy included education status, postpartum plans for Norplant use, and miscarriage history. Having a positive attitude toward childbearing during pregnancy was not included in the final model because it did not contribute to the model or affect any of the other parameters in the model.

CONCLUSIONS:

The sexually active teenaged mother who does not use contraception poses a perplexing diagnostic dilemma. The differential diagnosis is a long, complex one that includes ambivalent feelings about postponing future childbearing. This study demonstrates an indirect association between positive attitudes toward childbearing during pregnancy and repeat adolescent pregnancy. Our finding that this association operates through common linkages between maternal educational and contraceptive plans and both positive attitudes toward childbearing and repeat adolescent pregnancy suggests that interventions specifically targeting these underlying causes could reduce the unsafe sexual practices that persist among the participants in comprehensive adolescent-oriented maternity programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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