J Clin Med Res
Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, ISSN 1918-3003 print, 1918-3011 online, Open Access
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Letter to the Editor

Volume 10, Number 4, April 2018, pages 363-364

Clinical Significance of Pregnancy in Japanese Women Aged 15 Years

Shunji Suzuki

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Japanese Red Cross Katsushika Maternity Hospital, 5-11-12 Tateishi, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo 124-0012, Japan

Manuscript submitted January 20, 2018, accepted February 5, 2018
Short title: Pregnant Women Aged 15 Years
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr3365w

Early childbearing has been recognized to increase the risks for both mothers and their infants, especially in low- and middle-income countries [1-4]. Although we believe that Japan is not a low- or middle-income country, there are some morbid pregnant women who are impoverished economically [5]. In this study, we examined the clinical characteristics and obstetric outcomes in pregnancies in Japanese women aged 15 years, because the minimum age to be married and recognized as adult in Japan is 16 years old.

There were 56 women aged 15 years at delivery at ≥ 22 weeks’ gestation between 2002 and 2016 at our institute. In this study, the items recorded as maternal characteristics were as follows: timing of start of prenatal care, history of previous pregnancy, smoking, economic problems and unknown pregnant partner. The items recorded as maternal complications were as follows: infections (Chlamydia trachomatis and condyloma acuminatum), mental disorders, hypertensive disorders, glucose intolerance, and placental abruption. The items recorded as obstetric outcomes were as follows: preterm delivery, delivery modes, hypertensive disorders, low-birth-weight infant, neonatal asphyxia, and postpartum hemorrhage ≥ 1,000 mL. Of the 56 women, seven (13%) gave birth without visiting prenatal care. Thus, we also examined the clinical significance of the women without visiting prenatal care in comparison with the women with prenatal visit using the same items.

Table 1 shows the clinical characteristics and obstetric outcomes in the study populations. In this study, adverse obstetric outcomes were not observed in the pregnancies in women aged 15 years; however various social and economic problems regarding pregnancy in these women were observed. In addition, the rate of more serious social problems such as insulted state with their parents and unknown pregnant partners was higher significantly in women without prenatal care than that in women received prenatal care.

Table 1.
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Table 1. Clinical Characteristics and Obstetric Outcomes in Japanese Women Aged 15 Years With and Without Prenatal Care

In Japan, when single adolescent women give birth, the grandparents have legal parental authority over the infant. Therefore, the relationship between women and their parents is very important for both pregnancy and child care in adolescent women. In the cases, the relationship may be strained.

In this study, the incidences of Chlamydia trachomatis and condyloma acuminatum in the pregnant women aged 15 years seemed to be high. The high prevalence rate of these sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in young Japanese pregnant women is mostly in agreement with our previous observations [6, 7]. Because, some studies have reported age-based estimates, with younger participants showing higher prevalence estimates than older participants associated with cervical biological immaturity [8]. In addition, these are consistent with sexual behavior data, which show that numbers of sexual partners are highest in these younger age groups. This may constitute an additional social problem in adolescent women in Japan [9].

In this study, the frequency of smoking in the pregnant women aged 15 years was 30%. In Japan, the rate of smoking experience in women aged 15 - 16 years was reported to be 16-20% in 2004 [10]. The high rate had been suggested to be associated with the motive of “curiosity” and “interest”. Such “curiosity” and “interest” might also lead to their sexual encounters and pregnancies. It is very important for young people to have “curiosity” and “interest”; however, re-enlightenment about the hazards of smoking, use of contraception, and STD prevention of young Japanese people is necessary.

In conclusion, pregnancy in women aged 15 years was not associated with adverse obstetric outcomes. However, it is associated with serious social and economic problems. Adequate social support is needed for young pregnant women.

Conflict of Interest

The author has declared that no competing interest exists.

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  8. Moscicki AB, Winkler B, Irwin CE, Jr., Schachter J. Differences in biologic maturation, sexual behavior, and sexually transmitted disease between adolescents with and without cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. J Pediatr. 1989;115(3):487-493.
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  10. Suzuki S, Hiraizumi Y, Miyake H, Miura A, Yamane T. Obstetric outcomes of primiparous pregnant women aged ≤ 16 years old (in Japanese). Perinat Med (Tokyo). 2011;41(12):1637-1641

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Journal of Clinical Medicine Research is published by Elmer Press Inc.


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