Women & Infants Researcher: Pregnant Teens Want College, Need Support

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


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A recently released study conducted by researchers at Women & Infants Hospital shows that pregnant teens have aspirations and dreams to go to college and get a good job. Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, interim chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants, headed the research team that spent two years interviewing 257 pregnant teenage girls in the hospital’s Women’s Primary Care Center to gather information for the study “Career aspirations and pregnancy intentions in pregnant teens.”

Goals More Alike Than Different

The goal was to see if there was a correlation between a teenager’s intention to get pregnant and her career goals; college aspirations were determined based on whether the girls’ career goals required a college education. “Although educational achievement is lower for teen mothers, their aspirations do not necessarily differ from those of teens who do not become pregnant during adolescence,” Dr. Phipps said. The majority of adolescents who participated in the study reported that their pregnancy was unintended. “Fifty-nine percent of the girls we questioned aspire to a career that requires at least a college degree,” Dr. Phipps explained. “What we discovered is that career aspirations were not significantly associated with planning the pregnancy or emotional readiness for pregnancy and parenting,” Dr. Phipps said.

"A clear need for tailored intervention programs..."

The average age of the girls taking part in the study was 16.8 years. Seventy percent had never been pregnant before. The majority (46 percent) were of Hispanic descent. The study also led the researchers to draw a separate conclusion. Because teen mothers have significantly lower rates of educational achievement than women who delay childbearing, the study determined that there is a clear need for tailored intervention programs that will help pregnant teenagers graduate from high school, attend college and follow their career aspirations.


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