Objective: To investigate pregnancy performance and newborn outcome between adolescents and older women receiving adequate and similar antenatal care.
Methods: Four hundred and twenty-five women attending the antenatal clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, participated in a prospective study. Recruitment included women 19 years and younger (adolescents) and 20 years and older (older women). Anthropometric measurements of the women and their newborn were made. During the pregnancy, all admissions to hospital and the diagnoses were recorded. Neonatal admissions were also recorded.
Result: Three hundred and sixty-one women each (84.9%) delivered a live infant of which 175 (87.5%) women were less than 20 years old and comprised the adolescent group and 186 (82.7%) of these women were 20 years and older and comprised the women in the older age group. Thirty-nine (9.2%) had early pregnancy losses; twelve among the adolescents (6%) and twenty-seven (12%) among the older women (p = 0.03). There was one intrauterine death and one stillbirth in the adolescent group and two intrauterine deaths and no stillbirth in the older group. The attendance rate at the antenatal clinic for both groups was high throughout the study with each group having greater than 96% attendance. There were 53 (26.5%) admissions among the adolescent girls and 70 (31.1%) admissions among the older women. This was not statistically significant. There was a significant difference in the occurrence of urinary tract infections where 17% of the adolescents had a urinary tract infection compared to 1% of older women (p < 0.0001). There was a lower Caesarean section rate among the adolescent. No significant difference between the number of neonatal admissions for the two groups (p = 0.19) was seen.
Conclusion: This study showed that with similar and adequate antenatal care there were minimal differences in pregnancy performance between the two groups with only an increased rate of urinary tract infections and a lower rate of Caesarean section in the adolescents.