Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
SIMOES, Vanda Maria Ferreira et al. Characteristics of adolescent pregnancy, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.5, pp.559-565. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102003000500003.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the main socioeconomic, demographic, anthropometric and behavioral characteristics, and pregnancy outcomes of adolescent pregnancy and to assess health services used by pregnant adolescents. METHODS: Data were collected from a cross-section of 2,429 deliveries by women residing in the municipality of São Luís, Brazil, of which 94% were hospital births. Women were categorized into six age groups. The two groups of teenagers (under 18 and 18-19 years) were compared to four groups of older women. Comparison was also made between the two teenage groups. The chi-square test was used to compare proportions and prevalence ratio was used as an effect measure. RESULTS: Of 2,429 women, 714 (29.4%) were adolescents. Their specific fertility coefficient was higher than in other regions of the country. Adolescents showed lower socioeconomic and reproductive conditions than older women and a higher proportion of inadequate prenatal care. The majority had no partner. They had the lowest percentages of caesarean section and smokers. CONCLUSIONS: Despite their equally unfavorable socioeconomic situation, 18-19 year-old adolescents had pregnancy outcomes comparable to the age group 25-29, whereas those under 18 had the highest proportions of low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality rate. This suggests that biologic immaturity may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Keywords : Pregnancy in adolescence; Pregnancy rate; Infant, low birth weight; Iinfant, prematur; Prenatal care; Adolescent behavior; Maternal health services; Quality of health care; Socioeconomic factors; Parturition; Infant mortality; Risk factors; Smoking.