A comparative analysis of teenagers and older pregnant women concerning maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes in Raymond Mhlaba sub-District, South Africa

Nombulelo Tshakweni, Daniel Ter Goon, Uchenna Benedine Okafor


Teenage pregnancy has become a common global public health issue, associated with increased risk of obstetric complications and adverse neonatal outcomes. Teenagers are more prone to obstetric complications compared to older women. This study examined the maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes among teenagers, and compared them with older pregnant women. This study extracted maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes from 196 medical records of women delivered at Fort Beaufort Hospital from April 2017 to March 2018. Teenagers developed anaemia (13%) and pre-eclampsia (2.1%) during pregnancy as compared to older pregnant women. Most of the women delivered through normal vertex, although the teenagers had the highest percentage of caesarean section (27%) compared to the older women. Few proportions of women developed complications during delivery, however, obstructed labour (14.7%), prolonged labour (11.5%), foetal distress (14.8%) was more prevalent in teenagers. Most neonates were delivered at preterm birth and were alive across all age groups. However, few of the preterm births (23.2%) and very premature neonates (7.4%) occurred among the teenager mothers compared to older women. Few neonates had an Apgar score of less than 7 in 1 minute across all age groups. The risk of obstructed labour, prolonged labour, and foetal distress was predominant among teenagers compared to the older women. There was high incidence of vaginal deliveries, preterm babies and low Apgar score among teenagers compared to the older women. The findings of this study revealed that the teenagers start booking at the second trimester, which may impose the risk of complications if not observed at an early stage. There was high incidence of vaginal deliveries, preterm babies and low Apgar score among teenagers compared to the older women. Programmes to support early antenatal bookings for teenagers are important to address adverse maternal complications associated with late antenatal bookings. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[4]:138-146).

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