Adolescent pregnancy is associated with future psychiatric morbidity

  • Jalanko E & al.
  • J Adolesc Health
  • 28.10.2019

  • von Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Adolescent pregnancy, regardless of outcome, is associated with an increased long-term risk for psychiatric morbidity.

Why this matters

  • Long-acting reversible contraception helps to reduce adolescent pregnancy rates.
  • Most adolescent pregnancies are unplanned.
  • Risk-taking and unstable lifestyle may contribute to both adolescent pregnancy and psychiatric morbidity.

Key results

  • Women without a history of an adolescent pregnancy achieved a higher educational level.
  • Overall, psychiatric morbidity was higher in both induced abortion (adjusted incidence
    rate ratio [aIRR], 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.4) and childbirth (aIRR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.3-1.6) in women
  • Childbirth had higher risks for anxiety disorders compared with induced abortion (aIRR, 1.6 vs 1.1).
  • The risk for psychiatric morbidity persisted into adulthood.

Study design

  • Nationwide Finnish retrospective register study.
  • Psychiatric diagnoses after adolescent pregnancy (both induced abortion and childbirth) were examined and compared up to 28 years after pregnancy.
  • Childbirth (n=1794) at age
  • Psychiatric diagnoses were identified through ICD codes.
  • Funding: Finnish Medical Foundation.

Limitations

  • Information on the intentionality of the pregnancy is lacking.
  • Single country; results may not be generalizable.