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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Factors Associated with Teenage Pregnancy

Author(s): T. Thekkekkara, J.Veenu

Vol. 31, No. 2 (2006-04 - 2006-06)

Introduction

In India, 10.3% of the female population belongs to the age group of l5-19 years and 22.1% of Karnataka's population is adolescents.2 Incidence of teenage pregnancy in the country varies from 3.2%3 to 18.6%4. In 1997, the age specific fertility rate was found to be 0.061 live births per 1,000 rural women aged between 15-19 years.1 Present study, intends to study the factors associated with teenage pregnancy including age and parity distribution, educational qualifications, marital status and health seeking behavior.

Material and Methods

This retrospective study was conducted in a maternity hospital in Solur, Bangalore. All the women who delivered from February 2003 to April 2003 were included in the study with the exception of those who were referred to tertiary care centers (medical and/or obstetric complications, HIV or HBsAg positive). Data from these 221 patients were obtained after personal interviews and review of medical records. After calculating their present age, the patients were subsequently divided into teenagers and non-teenagers [i.e. those above 19 years]. The data was then tabulated in Excel spreadsheet and analysed using Epi 6 programme.

Results

Out of the 221 pregnant women included in the present study, 52% (115) were teenagers.

Table I: Gravida-wise distribution of the study population

Gravida Category Total
Teenage Non-Teenage
1 91 50 141
2 15 34 49
3 4 15 19
4 3 4 7
5 2 2 4
6 0 0 0
7 0 1 1
TOTAL 115 106 221

Among the teenage women, 76% belonged to the age group 18-19 years with 3.5% of them being aged 15 years or below. The youngest mother was of age 14 years. 3% of the teenage primigravidae were unmarried while the rest of the population was married.

The mean age at marriage among teenagers was 16.5 years (SD=1.5) while among non-teenagers it was 18.6 years (SD=2.4). The mean age at first pregnancy among teenagers was 18.1 years (SD=1.2) while among non-teenagers it was 20.5 years (SD=2.7). The mean interval between marriage and first pregnancy was 1.1 years (SD=0.6) among teenagers and among non-teenagers it was 2.0 years (SD=2.7). The youngest age of marriage was 12 years in the present study. 14.9% of the study population was married by the age of 15 years and 24.4% were pregnant by the age of 17 years.

While 15.4% of the total study population had never been to school, 38.5% had completed their studies up to tenth standard. 13.2% of the teenage primigravidae had no formal education and 56% had studied upto high school. However among the teenage multigravidae, the majority had studied only up to upper primary. On the contrary, among the nonteenagers, 21.7% had gone for further studies after completely their tenth standard. Higher the educational status, older was their age at marriage as well as their age at first pregnancy (p=0.018).

Discussion

The presence of teenage pregnancy in the study population was 52% as compared to the data released by the International Population Sciences which states that 17% of all the births in the country occurs to women aged between 15 and 19 years in the year 1992-93. Majority of the teenage pregnancies occurred in the age group 18-19 years as compared to the other studies where 65% of the teenage mothers were 19 year olds. Consistent with other studies,3,4 majority of the teenage pregnancies were in the primigravidae group. According to the Rapid Household Survey-Reproductive and Child Health 1998-99,2 37% of the girls are married before attaining, 18 yrs. of age. The median age at marriage in many states is still l6 years.2 Early marriages, i.e. between 15-19 years, lead to large families increasing the mortality and morbidity of both the mother and the child. In the present study also, the mean age at marriage among teenagers was found to be 16.5 years with a mean interval of 1.1 years for the first pregnancy. Three percent of the teenagers were unmarried in the present study. Higher the educational qualification of the women, later was their marriage and first pregnancy.

References

  1. Park K. Parks textbook of preventive and social medicine. 17th ed. Jabalpur, India: M/s Banarrsidas Bhanot Publishers: 2003 p. 328-336.
  2. Sen S. Status of adolescents: glimpses from states of India. Health for the Millions 2004; 29:31-2.
  3. Pal A, Gupta KB, Randhawa I. Adolescent pregnancy: a high-risk group. J Ind Med Assoc 1997; 95:127-8.
  4. Sarkar CS, Girl AK, Sarkar B. Outcome of teenage pregnancy and labour: a retrospective study. J Ind Med Assoc 1991; 89:197-9.

Deptt. of Community Medicine,
St Johns Medical College, Bangalore-560034.
Received: 8.7.2004

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