Year of Publication

2021

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Steve Browning

Committee Member

Dr. Jay Christian

Committee Member

Dr. Corrine Williams

Abstract

Introduction. Increased risk of preterm birth and low birthweight for infants born to teenage mothers (15-19), when compared to infants born to adult mothers (20-29), is well documented in the United States. Trends in preterm birth and low birthweight are also well documented over time. Examination of the difference in incidence of preterm birth or low birthweight between infants born to teenage mothers and to adult mothers over time is not present in the literature. This study aimed to fill this gap in the literature and determine how preterm birth and low birthweight differences have changed over time.

Methods. Natality datasets originated from the National Center for Health Statistics. Seventeen years of data were combined into one dataset of summary statistics for each variable for each year. The samples for each year were restricted to singleton first births. Graphical analysis and simple and multiple linear regression analyses were performed.

Results. The gap in incidence between infants born to teenage mothers and infants born to adult mothers for both preterm birth and low birthweight decreased over time by an estimated 0.06% and 0.03% per year, respectively. Incidence difference and trends over time differed by race and marital status in graphical analyses. Year was a significant predictor for both preterm birth difference and low birthweight difference in simple linear regression models. Year remained significant in the preterm birth multiple linear regression model, but not in the low birthweight model.

Discussion. The gap in incidence of birth outcomes between infants born to teenage and to adult mothers has closed over time. Similar incidence of preterm birth or low birthweight between different race or marital status strata of mothers indicates that there were more important factors than maternal age that influenced preterm birth or low birthweight. The groups with the highest risk for preterm birth or low birthweight have experienced decreasing incidence over time.

Available for download on Sunday, November 07, 2021

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