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Obstetric outcomes of teenagers and older mothers: experience from Saudi Arabia

Background: Extremes of maternal age adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. Teenage pregnancy is a public health problem and is known to be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Advanced maternal age is a risk factor for pregnancy outcome. Saudi Arabia suffers the dual burden of teenage pregnancy and older pregnancy.

Objectives: To explore the effects of maternal age on pregnancy and its outcome among mothers adequately covered with maternity care.

Methods: A retrospective record-based comparative study was carried out in Northern region of Saudi Arabia. We compared the obstetric outcomes of mothers aged less than 20 years (teenage pregnancy); mothers aged 35 years and more (older mothers) with mothers aged 20 to 34 years (reference group). Data was abstracted from family files, and maternity cards kept at primary health care centers.

Results: Teenage pregnancy and older mothers accounted for 9.0% and 16.8%of the total registered mothers. Antenatal morbidity, mode of delivery and neonatal outcomes did not differ between teenage mothers and the reference group. On the other hand, gestational diabetes mellitus, pregnancy induced hypertension, and caesarean section were more frequent among older mothers, compared to the reference group.

Conclusion: teenage pregnancy in Saudi Arabia is not associated with bad obstetric outcomes. In the contrary older age mothers experienced more prenatal morbidity and caesarean section. Adequate antenatal and natal care mitigated the adverse effects of younger and advanced maternal age.

Author(s): Abdel-Hady El-Gilany (MD) , Sabry Hammad (MD)

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