New data from the confidential enquiry into maternal and child health (Cemach) has revealed that babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to die within the first month of their birth.
The report said that social deprivation was most likely the cause of high neonatal death rate among teen mothers."It is going to be multi-factorial. You can't give a definite answer as to why," said Dr Jo Modder, clinical director (obstetrics) at Cemach. "In the younger women there is a higher rate of pre-term deliveries and lower birth weight."
Some 81% of teen moms suffering still birth of neonatal death were of white ethnic origin, while 73% were from some of the most deprived population segments.
Most teen moms delay going to their GPs for consultation and this could play a part as well, said Modder, adding that they "may have just discovered they are pregnant and be anxious about revealing it. But if you don't engage, the risk factors in the pregnancy are not always easy to assess."
Overall the stillbirth rate fell from 5.7 per 1,000 births in 2002 to 5.2 per 1,000 births in 2007, which is great news, according to Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. "This is good news but we must remain vigilant over the common maternal risk factors and identify women who may require extra support."