J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 27:36-41 doi:10.1783/147118901101194877
  • Margaret Jackson Prize Essay

What's so bad about teenage pregnancy?

  1. Aubrey J Cunnington, BA, Final Year Student
  1. Correspondence Aubrey Cunnington, Pre-registration House Officer, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU. Email: acunning{at}


A systematic literature review identified the most frequently cited medical consequences of teenage pregnancy as anaemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, low birth weight, prematurity, intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal mortality. Critical appraisal suggested that increased risks of these outcomes were predominantly caused by the social, economic, and behavioural factors that predispose some young women to pregnancy. Maternal age less than 16 years was associated with a modest (1.2-2.7 fold) increase in prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal death.

  • Accepted March 28, 2000.