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Trends in the Prevalence of Adolescent Births in Antigua and Barbuda over 35 Years

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A retrospective study was undertaken to determine trends in teenage births in Antigua and Barbuda from 1969 to 2003. Maternity Ward records were reviewed at Holberton Hospital, site of over 90% of deliveries in Antigua and Barbuda. Maternal age for all births were included. The estimated population in Antigua and Barbuda increased from 60 159 in 1969 to 69 866 in 1998, with no suspected change in age-group or gender distribution. Births to mothers 12–13, 14–15, 16–17 and 18–19 years old were analyzed separately. Yearly birth totals for the 10-year period from 1969 to 1973 and 1999 to 2003 were compared using student t test analysis. The total number of births averaged 1075 per year with no change in trend. For females aged 12 and 13 years, there was no change in births from 1969 to 1978 compared with 1994 to 2003. For females aged 14 years, there was a 54% drop; for females aged 15 years, a 59% drop; for females aged 16 years, a 53% drop; for females aged 17 years, a 51% drop; for females 18 years, a 37% drop and for females aged 19 years, a 30% drop, while births to mothers $ 20 years increased 25%. The decrease for all teen births was 42% from 1969–1978 to 1994–2003. Teen births accounted for 29% of all births at Holberton in 1969 to 1973 but only 16% of births in 1999 to 2003. In conclusion, Antigua and Barbuda has seen a marked drop of 42% in teenage deliveries, including a 53% drop in school-aged teens from 1969 to 2003. Explanations include factors such as economic, social, educational and medical developments.

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e-Published: 18 Jul, 2013
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