Maternal characteristics and neonatal outcome of 421 primiparas aged 15-19 years who delivered at Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem were examined. The study group included 190 teenage mothers from the Mea Shearim community who marry young and who receive extensive social and economic support. The control group included 231 teenage mothers from other areas of Jerusalem, characterized by a predominantly low social class, Oriental ethnic origin, and a high rate of out-of-wedlock births (28.6%). The Mea Shearim mothers had a significantly lower incidence of low birth weight (<2500 g) infants compared to the control group (6.3% vs. 14.7%, p < 0.01). The differences could not be explained by maternal age distribution, ethnicity, smoking, or marital status. These results suggest that in a community that provides extensive social and economic support and good access to free prenatal care of high standard, teenage pregnancy is not a neonatal risk factor.
- Neonatal outcome Low birth weight Teenage pregnancy Socioeconomic status