Adolescence and very low birth weight infants: A disproportionate association

Hugh S. Miller, Karen B. Lesser, Kathryn L. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To examine the incidence of very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates, defined as those weighing less than 1500 g, delivered by adolescents compared with the general obstetric population. Methods: A retrospective observational study of 16,857 women delivering live-born infants from January 1, 1989, to June 30, 1993, was conducted at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. Adolescents were defined as those having a maternal age of 18 years or less at the time of delivery. The rate of VLBW infants delivered to adolescent mothers was compared with the general obstetric population (women at least 19 years old) using χ2 analysis, multiple analysis of variance, and multiple linear regression. Results: During the study period, 204 VLBW infants were delivered, yielding an overall VLBW delivery rate of 1.2%. Adolescents had a VLBW delivery rate that was considerably higher than the general obstetrical population: 35 of 1758 (2.0%) versus 169 of 15,099 (1.1%) (P = .002). Whereas adolescents accounted for 10.6% of the total deliveries during the study period, they delivered 17% of the VLBW neonates. The relative risk of an adolescent delivering a VLBW infant was 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.2-2.2). Conclusion: Preterm birth is one of the major unresolved problems in modern obstetrics. Although the association between adolescence and preterm birth has been reported previously, specific attention has not been focused on the VLBW neonate. We conclude that adolescents deliver a disproportionate number of VLBW infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Volume87
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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