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Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Oct;90(4 Pt 1):500-6.

Neonatal outcomes of teenage pregnancy in a military population.

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Department of Pediatrics, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas, USA.



To compare the use of prenatal care, incidence of pregnancy complications, and neonatal outcomes among adolescent mothers with those among older mothers in a military population with equal access to a tertiary care center.


We reviewed the neonatal data base of a military tertiary care center for the period 1990-1996. All singleton births at least 20 weeks' estimated gestational age (EGA) or with birth weight at least 500 g were included. Maternal transfers were excluded. Mothers were divided into five age groups, with the ranges 13-17, 18-19, 20-24, 25-29, and 30 or more years. Prenatal care was assessed by the Kessner index. Data were analyzed by chi 2 test, t test, Mann-Whitney U test, and logistic regression techniques.


Included in the study were 10,168 infants (344 aged 13-17, 893 aged 18-19, 3244 aged 20-24, 3095 aged 25-29, and 2592 aged 30 or more years). There was a greater percentage of Hispanic mothers among adolescents aged 13-17 years (48.3%); this percentage decreased as maternal age increased (32.7% to 14.6%). The percentage of white mothers was greatest for mothers over 30 years old (72.1%), and this percentage decreased as maternal age decreased (70.3% to 35.8%). The percentage of black mothers remained relatively constant in all age groups (12.2-16.0%). There were significant differences in sponsor's rank distribution among groups; mothers 25-29 years old and over 30 years old had higher-paying ranks whereas both teenage groups were of predominantly lower-paying ranks. Gestational age at the first prenatal visit and overall use of prenatal care were significantly improved as maternal age increased for each successive age group. Older mothers had significantly higher rates for diabetes and abnormal fetal sonograms than younger mothers; younger mothers had increased rates for sexually transmitted disease, fetal growth restriction, and tobacco use. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that fetal complications, adequate prenatal care, black maternal race, and lower rank were significant independent risk factors for high-risk outcomes. Young maternal age was not an independent risk factor for prematurity or low birth weight.


Although adolescent mothers (13-17 years old) used prenatal care less than older mothers, there were no differences in the incidence of prematurity, low birth weight (LBW), or neonatal survival among this group of women cared for in a military tertiary health care setting. In this health care setting, risk for premature birth and LBW are related to complications of pregnancy, maternal race, and lower-paying rank.

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