Driving Factors of Preterm Birth Risk in Adolescents

Marta J. Perez, Jen J. Chang, Lorene A. Temming, Ebony B. Carter, Julia D. López, Methodius G. Tuuli, George A. Macones, Molly J. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective We examined rates of spontaneous and indicated preterm births (S-PTB and I-PTB, respectively) and clinical risk factors for PTB in adolescents. Study Design This is a population-based, retrospective cohort using 2012 U.S. natality data of nulliparous women who delivered a nonanomalous singleton birth between 20 and 42 weeks' gestation. Maternal age included <16, 16 to 19.9, and ≥20 years. Rates of total, S-PTB, and I-PTB were compared across age groups. Multinomial logistic regression tested clinical risk factors for S-PTB. Results In 1,342,776 pregnancies, adolescents were at higher risk for PTB than adults. The rate of total PTB was highest in young adolescents at 10.6%, decreased to 8.3% in older adolescents, and 7.8% in adults. The proportion of S-PTB was highest in the youngest adolescents and decreased toward adulthood; the proportion of I-PTB remained stable across age groups. Risk factors for S-PTB in adolescents included Asian race, underweight body mass index (BMI), and poor gestational weight gain (GWG). In all age groups, carrying a male fetus showed a significant increased S-PTB, and Women, Infants, and Children's (WIC) participation was associated with a significantly decreased risk. Conclusion The higher risk for PTB in adolescents is driven by an increased risk for S-PTB. Low BMI and poor GWG may be potentially modifiable risk factors. Condensation Adolescents have a higher risk for spontaneous PTB than adult women, and risk factors for spontaneous PTB may differ in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200031
Pages (from-to)E247-E252
JournalAJP Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • adolescents
  • indicated preterm birth
  • risk factors
  • spontaneous preterm birth


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