The teen pregnancy rate indicator estimates the number of pregnancies (resulting in live births, stillbirths, and therapeutic abortions) per 1,000 females age 15 -19 years.
Teen pregnancy poses increased health risks to both the mother and the child, including the following:
- pregnant teens have a greater risk of developing health problems such as anaemia, hypertension, eclampsia and depressive disorders 22, 23
- children of teen mothers are more likely to have low birth weights, preterm births and, as a result, are more likely to experience increased mortality and childhood morbidities including developmental problems, learning difficulties, hearing and visual impairments, and chronic respiratory problems 24, 25
The rate of teen pregnancy is significant from a public health and determinants of health perspective because:
- teen pregnancy is more common among disadvantaged teens 26, 27
- pregnancy in the teen years can be a significant predictor of other social, educational and employment barriers in later life 26, 27
- children of teen mothers have higher rates of becoming teen parents themselves, thus perpetuating the cycle of teen pregnancy 28, 29
Ontario’s public health units play a role in reducing the rate of teen pregnancy and promoting healthy pregnancies for those teens who do become pregnant. Public health units provide a comprehensive range of sexual health education and counselling services that aim to support young mothers to have positive health outcomes for themselves and their babies.
Specific public health initiatives include:
- healthy sexuality education and counseling
- the provision of low cost birth control supplies
- confidential and free sexual health clinic services
- building community partnerships with schools, hospitals, and community-based organizations to deliver healthy sexuality and reproductive health programs and services
Public health units may face specific challenges with community receptivity to sexual health education and clinic services - it is important to acknowledge that the acceptance of these services may vary across Ontario.
In 2007, the pregnancy rate in Ontario for women aged 15-19 was 25.7 per 1,000. Based on 36 public health units in Ontario, the highest rate was 60.8, and the lowest rate was 9.5 per 1,000 women aged 15-19.
Teen pregnancy rates have been on the decline in Canada in the last 25 years, with significant variation across provinces and territories. However, teen pregnancy has continued to be of significant concern in specific populations including socio-economically disadvantaged teens.
The teen pregnancy rate estimates the number of pregnancies (resulting in live births, still births and therapeutic abortions) per 1,000 females age 15 -19 years.
||Number of deliveries (live birth and still births): Inpatient Discharges, Provincial Health Planning Database, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Therapeutic abortions: Therapeutic Abortions Summary, Provincial Health Planning Database, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
||Population Estimates, Provincial Health Planning Database, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
||Total number of deliveries (live births and stillbirths) and therapeutic abortions for females age 15-19 years (2007 calendar year)
Total number of females age 15-19 years (2007 calendar year)
- Intellihealth therapeutic abortions summary report was used to derive the number of therapeutic abortions for females ages 15-19 years
- IntelliHealth\ 20 - Ontario Special Reports\Therapeutic Abortion Summary. Report # 20-0001 was used to derive the number of therapeutic abortions
- Intellihealth\05 Inpatient Discharges\Hospital Births\ Deliveries - Ontario x Mother's Age: Report #: 05-0004 was used to derive the number of deliveries
- Analyzed by mother's usual place of residence, not place of birth
- Analyzed by ICD 10-CA codes containing Z37 for live births and stillbirths by mother's date of discharge, and mother's age at time of delivery
- Excludes births and therapeutic abortions to females residing out-of-province; excludes estimates of fetal loss; excludes abortions conducted with females residing out of province
22 Paranjothy S, Broughton H, Adappa R, Fone D. Teenage pregnancy: who suffers? Arch Dis Child. 2009;94(3):239-45.
23 Dryburgh, H. Teenage pregnancy. Health Reports. 2000;12(1): 9-19. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2000/5299-eng.pdf.
24 Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health. Statistical report on the health of Canadians. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada; 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-570-x/82-570-x1997001-eng.pdf.
25 Chen XK, Wen SW, Fleming N, Demissie K, Rhoads GG, Walker M. Teenage pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes: a large population based retrospective cohort study. Int J Epidemiol. 2007 Apr;36(2):368-73.
26 Kearney MS, Levine PB. Socioeconomic disadvantage and early childbearing. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2007. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13436.pdf.
27 Luong, M. Life after teenage motherhood. Perspectives on Labour and Income. 2008; 6-13. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-001-x/2008105/pdf/10577-eng.pdf.
28 East PL, Reyes BT, Horn EJ. Association between adolescent pregnancy and a family history of teenage births. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2007 Jun;39(2):108-15.
29 Wellings, K. Causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy. In: Baker P, Guthrie K, Hutchinson C, Kane R, Wellings K, eds. Teenage pregnancy and reproductive health. London: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; 2007. p.70.