The most frequent and severe complication of pregnancies in adolescents is toxemia, a Washington physician reports.
"This incidence may be five times higher in patients under age 16 than in older women, and when these young patients do not receive adequate prenatal care, the rates for toxemia as well as premature births can increase significantly," according to John F. J. Clark, MD.
The eight-year study on which Dr. Clark bases his conclusions also indicates that fewer congenital anomalies and cesarean sections are associated with adolescent pregnancies.
Dr. Clark, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Howard University School of Medicine and co-workers, Jean A. Wong, MD, and John H. Niles, MD, first studied 6,000 deliveries at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, DC, between 1957 and 1959.
There were 294 babies born to girls under age 16. Of the 291 adolescent mothers, 170 were 16 years old, 80 were 15