Pregnancy in adolescence has been linked with increased risks of mortality and life-threatening complications in young mothers and their newborn babies. New research suggests that biology alone does not explain the high incidence of these adverse outcomes.
In a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis of all relevant published studies, investigators found that African American race, rural residence, inadequate education, low socioeconomic status, unemployment, and lack of social support are associated with poor pregnancy outcomes in adolescent mothers.
The findings suggest that certain social determinants of health--conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age--may place subgroups of adolescent mothers at a high risk of poor pregnancy outcomes.
"Our analyses of the scientific literature revealed that social determinants of health drive inequalities in adolescent perinatal health," said senior author Dr. Maria Ospina of the University of Alberta, in Canada. "The most disadvantaged groups of teen moms are at the highest risk of having adverse maternal and birth outcomes, and it is crucial to recognize these high-risk groups of adolescent mothers," added first author Sana Amjad.