Introduction According to the UK government, social exclusion increases the risk of teenage pregnancy and educational factors may be dimensions of such exclusion. In Brazil, around 700 000 girls (32 000 under 14 years) were reported to give birth in 1999.
Objective To compare gestational follow-up and neonatal outcomes in the age groups of 12–14 years (early adolescence), 15–18 years (late adolescence), and 19–35 years (adulthood), based on the number of prenatal visits, birthweight, and 5-min Apgar score.
Method Retrospective cross-sectional study conducted between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2009, using secondary data (Livebirth statement) from the South Wing Regional Hospital, Brasília, Federal District.
Results Of 24 800 newborns, the mothers of 87.06% were adults, 12.25% late adolescents and 0.69% early adolescents. The number of prenatal visits was adequate (≥7 visits) in 85.60% of the adults, and in only 14.00% and 0.40% of the late and early adolescents, respectively, with statistically significant differences. Birthweight distribution also significantly differed among groups. In adult pregnancies, birthweight values were the highest, although mean values were within the normal range. The proportion of low birthweight was significantly higher in early adolescence pregnancies. Five-minute Apgar scores were inadequate in 4.80% of early adolescence pregnancies, 2.80% of late adolescence pregnancies, and 1.90% of adult pregnancies, with distribution also differing among groups.
Conclusion Adolescent mothers require special care during gestation as they comprise a risk group that has been neglected. The adverse perinatal outcomes observed underscore the inadequacy of gestational follow-up.
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