Original Research

Profile and obstetric outcome of teenage pregnancies compared with pregnant adults at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal

Olaolu I. Ogunwale, Selvandran Rangiah
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 3| a5290 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5290 | © 2021 SELVANDRAN RANGIAH | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2021 | Published: 07 September 2021

About the author(s)

Olaolu I. Ogunwale, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Selvandran Rangiah, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Background: Teenage pregnancy remains a major public health concern and a challenge for developing countries. Young maternal age can lead to serious physical, social and psychological consequences as teenage mothers are less likely to gain full educational potential and are at higher risk of poverty and complications of pregnancy. The objective of the study was to describe the profile and obstetric outcome of teenage pregnancy compared with that of pregnant adults at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.

Methods: A retrospective descriptive study utilising data obtained from randomly selected hospital records of 216 teenage mothers compared the socio-demographic profile, foetal and maternal outcomes to that of pregnant adults.

Results: The mean age of the teenage group was 17.6 and 26.0 years for the adults (control group). Both groups had a remarkable booking status (97.2% vs. 100%) and antenatal attendance (62.5% vs. 66.2% with ≥ 5 visits). No significant difference in anaemia, caesarean delivery and obstetric complications were found in both groups. There was, however, a significant risk of hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (39.8% vs. 26.4%, p = 0.030) and higher risk of episiotomy being carried out during delivery (31.5% vs. 13.0%). On the other hand, the control group had a significant higher risk of HIV infection (12.5% vs. 38.4% p = 0.000).

Conclusion: The study showed that teenage pregnancy has a similar obstetric risk to adult pregnant patients except for hypertension disorder of pregnancy. Although this study demonstrated improved antenatal attendance by pregnant teenagers, the psychosocial impact on young mothers requires further research.


teenage pregnancy; profile; outcomes; obstetric risk; district hospital


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