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Teenage pregnancy is a global problem, associated with maternal and neonatal complications. Developing countries show a rising prevalence, however there are limited studies that investigate perinatal outcomes within the pregnant teenage population.
Objectives: To describe and analyse the effect of maternal factors on perinatal outcomes of teenage pregnancies.
Methods: Data was collected retrospectively from the labour ward and neonatal admission register of a regional hospital in South Africa over 6 months in 2018. Teenagers between 10 to 19 years of age who delivered at the institution were included in the study. Maternal factors were analysed against the risk of a complicated perinatal outcome, defined as either stillbirth or live neonate requiring admission to Neonatal nursery. A secondary analysis was conducted on the risk of stillbirth, prematurity or low birth weight (LBW). Data was analysed using SPSS version 25 with a level of significance at p<0.05.
Results: The prevalence of teenage deliveries was 15.6% (n=707/4519). 20% of teenagers were 16 years or younger. A complicated perinatal outcome was present in 19.5% of deliveries and was associated with lack of antenatal care (ANC) and emergency caesarean section (EMCS). Unbooked teenagers had a ten-fold higher chance of delivering a stillbirth and were three times as likely to deliver a LBW baby. Maternal complications were also associated with LBW. Age, parity and HIV status did not show any statistically significant difference in perinatal outcomes.
The prevalence of teenage pregnancy was high. Lack of ANC, maternal complications and EMCS in teenagers were associated with adverse perinatal outcomes.
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