Nutrition and health implications of preterm children born to adolescent mothers


  • Victoria Kariathi Department of Nutrition Education and Training, Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • Bernadether Rugumisa Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Mbeya University of Science and Technology, Mbeya, Tanzania.


Adolescent, Health, Nutrition, Preterm birth, Teen mothers


Preterm birth is one of the most important determinants of adverse infant outcomes, in terms of survival and quality of life. Adolescent pregnant is among the factors that are associated with an increased risk of preterm birth. However, despite its significant contribution, this age group has not received sufficient attention in efforts to prevent and reduce the burden of preterm births. The current efforts are generalized to all age groups and do not consider that adolescents have special age requirements even before becoming pregnant. This literature review summarizes some of the key nutrition and health challenges in pregnant adolescent that are linked to preterm birth as well as possible acute and chronic nutritional and health challenges to their preterm children. Electronic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and MEDLINE were searched using keywords such as “adolescent”, “health,” “preterm”, “Teen mothers”, “nutrition” “preterm birth” and pertinent articles (N = 74) were retrieved and reviewed. Due to maternal young age, preterm children of adolescent mothers also have high risk of suffering from short and long adverse health and nutritional problems. Female adolescents should not only be viewed from one angle of growing girls but also as part of women of the reproductive age group. They should not receive any less of the benefits of this age group that include adequate education about reproductive health, pregnancy nutrition and use and choice of contraceptives.