Teenage Pregnancy and Perinatal Outcomes: Experience from Rural South Africa

  • M Hoque
  • E Hoque
  • SB Kader
Keywords: Teenage Pregnancy, Preterm Delivery Rate, Low-Birth-Weight Delivery Rate, Stillbirth Rate


Context: Teenage pregnancy is known as a risk factor for preterm birth, low birth weight and perinatal deaths, thus considered public health problem. In South Africa, most teenage pregnancy is found within the context of unstable relationship and unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. A high rate of teenage pregnancy is also an indicator of problems with the sexual and reproductive health of a country's youth.
Objectives: To estimate the extent of and measure adverse perinatal outcome of teenage pregnancy and compare.
Study-Design, Setting and Subjects: A retrospective comparative study was conducted targeting pregnant women delivered at Empangeni hospital from April to December 2004. All pregnant women who were less than 19 years (teenage) were chosen as cases and those who were 19 years or more were selected as controls. Data were collected from the labour ward
delivery registry.
Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of teenage pregnancy, Pre-term delivery, low-birthweight and still-birth rates.
Results: There were 7836 deliveries of which 1236 (16%) were teenage mothers. The pre-term delivery rate of 12% and low-birth-weight delivery rate of 14% were similar for teenage and older mothers respectively. Cesarean delivery rate was significantly lower (p < 0.05) in teenagers (20%) compared to older women (26%). Macerated stillbirth rate was significantly lower (1.1%) for teenage compared to older women of 2.1% (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Although there was a higher rate of teenage pregnancy, it did not appear that it was associated with extra perinatal outcome.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0189-5117