Trends and birth outcomes in adolescent refugees and migrants on the Thailand-Myanmar border, 1986-2016: an observational study
Parker AL., Parker DM., Zan BN., Min AM., Gilder ME., Ringringulu M., Win E., Wiladphaingern J., Charunwatthana P., Nosten F., Lee SJ., McGready R.
Background: Currently there are more adolescents (10-19 years old) and young adults (20-24 years old) than ever. Reproductive health among this age group is often overlooked, although it can have a profound impact on the future. This is especially the case in conflict zones and refugee settings, where there is a heightened need for reproductive health care, and where both the resources and possibility for data collation are usually limited. Methods: Here we report on pregnancies, birth outcomes and risk factors for repeat pregnancies among adolescent and young adult refugees and migrants from antenatal clinics on the Thailand-Myanmar border across a 30 year time span. Results: Pregnancy and fertility rates were persistently high. Compared with 20-24-year-olds, 15-19-year-olds who reported being unable to read had 2.35 (CI: 1.97 – 2.81) times the odds for repeat pregnancy (gravidity >2). In primigravidae, the proportion of small for gestational age (SGA) and preterm births (PTB), and neonatal deaths (NND) decreased with increasing maternal age (all p <0.001). After adjustment, this association retained significance for PTB (cut-off point, ≤18 years) but not for SGA and NND. Conclusions: There is considerable room for improvement in adolescent pregnancy rates in these border populations, and educational opportunities may play a key role in effective interventions.