Objective The aim of the study is to determine the influence of mothers’ age (teenaged mothers) upon infants’ health.
Material and methods From a total of 588 infants hospitalised in ‘Dr.Victor Gomoiu’ Children’s Clinical Hospital – Bucharest, 63 infants had teenaged mothers (<18 years old) and 525 infants had mothers older than 18 years, representing the control group. A comparative analysis using Chi-square test and Student’s t-test was performed on variables regarding pregnancy, delivery, pathology and hospital admittance characteristics. Descriptive analysis methods were also used in characterising the sample lot.
Results Among 63 infants having teenaged mothers only 6 had both parents under 18 years of age. In all cases teenaged mothers were undereducated – 20 were uneducated, 27 attended primary school and 16 secondary school. No one, from the study group attended high school or university. A highly statistically relevant observation is that the majority of teenaged mothers live in rural area (p=0.004) and have a poor economic status. Children born to adolescent mothers tended to have a lower birth weight (22,2% had birth weight<2700g vs 15,8% in the control group, but without statistical significance in our study). Apgar score was≥7 in all cases. There were 14 (22%) complicated pregnancies. Caesarean section was performed in 27 cases (not statistically significant). Perinatal complications occurred in 27% cases. Analyzation of health condition of infants born to adolescent mothers led to the following observations: spectrum of the diseases for which they were hospitalised in the first year of life did not significantly differ in infants with teenage mothers, in comparison with the control group, but it is obvious that the number of infants with adolescent mothers that have more often been hospitalised for minor diseases is significantly higher than in the control group (p=0,01). Infants of adolescent mothers are more often affected by hospitalism, reflected by increased number of hospital admissions (p=0,037) and the sum of hospitalisation days (p=0,05).
Conclusions Teen birth rate continues to remain high in Romania. Adolescent childbearing and motherhood are consequences of poor economical, educational and social status. Infants born to adolescent mothers are more liable to hospital admissions, especially for minor diseases and spend more days being hospitalised during the first year of life, than are infants born to older mothers.
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