Publications & Reports

Maternal and perinatal outcomes among nulliparous adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: a multi-country study.

T Ganchimeg, R Mori, E Ota, A Koyanagi, S Gilmour, K Shibuya, M R Torloni, A P Betran, A Seuc, J Vogel, J P Souza
Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and caesarean section among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries. DESIGN: Secondary analysis using facility-based cross-sectional data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Survey on Maternal and Perinatal Health. SETTING: Twenty-three countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. POPULATION: Women admitted for delivery in 363 health facilities during 2-3 months between 2004 and 2008. METHODS: We constructed multilevel logistic regression models to estimate the effect of young maternal age on risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes among young mothers. RESULTS: A total of 78 646 nulliparous mothers aged </=24 years and their singleton infants were included in the analysis. Compared with mothers aged 20-24 years, adolescents aged 16-19 years had a significantly lower risk of caesarean section (adjusted OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.71-0.79). When the analysis was restricted to caesarean section indicated for presumed cephalopelvic disproportion, the risk of caesarean section was significantly higher among mothers aged </=15 years (aOR 1.27, 95% CI 1.07-1.49) than among those aged 20-24 years. Higher risks of low birthweight and preterm birth were found among adolescents aged 16-19 years (aOR 1.10, 95% CI 1.03-1.17; aOR 1.16, 95% CI 1.09-1.23, respectively) and </=15 years (aOR 1.33, 95% CI 1.14-1.54; aOR 1.56, 95% CI 1.35-1.80, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent girls experiencing pregnancy at a very young age (i.e. <16 years) have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.


  • Journal: BJOG
  • Published: 01/12/2013
  • Volume: 120
  • Issue: 13
  • Pagination: 1622-30; discussion 1630