Teen mothers and their offspring: Rate of complications higher – Local study
By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The rate of complications were higher among both teenage mothers and their newborns when compared to national averages and since teenage pregnancy is a risk to both the mother and the baby, maximum preventive strategies should be adopted to prevent this.
This was revealed in an oral presentation titled ‘Prevalence of selected health outcomes among newborns of teenage mothers admitted to the General Hospital, Kalutara,’ authored by R.B.B.S. Ramachandra (attached to the District General Hospital, Embilipitiya), H.T.K. Siriwardana, H.A.T.N. Jayaratne and M.P.C.S. Perera (all three attached to the District General Hospital, Kalutara), B.H.E. Liyanage (attached to the National Institute of Health Sciences, Kalutara), W.A. Nishshanka (attached to the Base Hospital, Rikillagaskada) and K.R.A.U.K. Rupasinghe (attached to the National Hospital, Colombo) and published in the Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka.
Teenage pregnancy is defined as the pregnancy of a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13 to 19. It has negative effects on the mother, child and family. There is a significant risk of preterm low birth weight, being small for gestation age and a low appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, respiration (APGAR) score.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted at the District General Hospital, Kalutara, in 2016. A total of 219 expectant teenagers admitted for delivery during the first half of that year were included. The primary data was collected using a questionnaire and secondary data was extracted from the bed head ticket.
The ages ranged from 14 to 20 years, while the mean age was 18.45 years, the mode and median ages were 19 years. A total of 85 per cent were primi mothers, while 3.7 per cent had live babies in the previous pregnancy. A total of 32 had risk factors other than the age including being anaemic (17.8 per cent), being with a low body mass index (11 per cent), while 16.9 per cent had certain other risk factors. In terms of pregnancy outcomes, 83.1 per cent had normal vaginal delivery, 7.5 per cent were pre-mature and 98.6 per cent were live births. The rate of caesarean sections was lower among teenage mothers. Only 14.2 per cent had low birth weight, while 22.6 per cent from among them (3.4 per cent in total) had extremely low birth weight. A total of 6 per cent newborn babies had an APGAR score less than 10 at the time of the delivery, while 47.9 per cent had a higher body temperature at the end of the first day of life. Only 4.6 per cent mother-baby dyads were found to have poor attachment, while 14.6 per cent had poor positioning for breastfeeding. Nearly 9 per cent of the babies were admitted to the special care baby unit.