Characteristics and risk factors for adverse birth outcomes in pregnant black adolescents

Shih Chen Chang, Kimberly O. O'Brien, Maureen Schulman Nathanson, Jeri Mancini, Frank R. Witter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe maternal characteristics and birth outcomes in a group of pregnant minority adolescents and to characterize the impact of maternal age (<15 years versus 15-17 years) on birth outcomes. Study design: A 10-year retrospective chart review was conducted in 1120 pregnant black adolescents (≤17 years of age) who had received prenatal care at an inner-city maternity clinic in Baltimore, Md. Results: Pregnant black adolescents had a higher incidence of low birth weight infants, preterm delivery, and fetal death compared with normative data from the United States. Younger adolescents were more likely to have inadequate utilization of prenatal care (P < .01). Older adolescents had a higher incidence of gonorrhea infections (P = .046), greater rates of self-reported substance abuse (P = .063), and a higher history of cigarette smoking (P < .01). Low prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), inadequate weight gain, and poor prenatal care utilization were strong independent predictors of preterm birth (P < .05). Low prepregnancy BMI, inadequate weight gain, female infant, and self-reported cigarette smoking history were significantly associated with decreased infant birth weight (P < .05). Conclusions: Pregnant black adolescents had increased risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes. This population should be studied further to develop age-appropriate and population-specific interventions to improve birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics and risk factors for adverse birth outcomes in pregnant black adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this