Younger, Older Teens View Pregnancy Differently

Younger teens more often view baby as way to connect

TUESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Younger teens view pregnancy differently than older teens, with more of the former believing a baby can enhance relationships, but also more inclined to expect upheaval, according to a report in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Cynthia Rosengard, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and colleagues asked 247 pregnant teens between the ages of 12 and 19 about their attitudes and motivations about being pregnant. About half identified themselves as Hispanic and 29.8 percent reported at least one previous pregnancy.

The researchers found that 27 (56.3 percent) of the teens between 12 and 15 years old viewed pregnancy as a way to enhance connections, compared with 39 (37.1 percent) of the teens 18 or 19 years old. Of the younger group, 12 (25 percent) understood practical considerations, compared with 42 (40 percent) of the older teens. Seventeen (35.4 percent) of the younger group acknowledged a lack of preparedness, while 53 (50.5 percent) of the older teens said they were unprepared. Forty (83.3 percent) of the younger girls said they anticipated changes or interference in their lives, while 67 (63.8 percent) of the older girls expected upheaval.

"Our findings challenge the notion that pregnant teens can be thought of as a homogeneous group with whom we can approach and intervene with the same, undifferentiated messages," the authors write.

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