street youth pregnancy rate high at 50%: pediatric study FWD

Tom Boland (
Tue, 12 May 1998 11:21:06 -0700 (PDT)
FWD  Reuters Health - 11 May 1998


NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Over half of teenagers and young women living on the
street become pregnant, a study suggests. And of those pregnancies that
continue, 23% of infants are born prematurely and 13% die, Dr. Sheri M.
Findlay reported recently at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual
meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

``Street youth are certainly becoming pregnant, and more often than the
general population,'' said Findlay, of the Hospital for Sick Children in
Toronto, Ontario.

Findlay and colleagues interviewed 93 young women, aged 15 to 24 years, who
attended a Toronto clinic designed to care for street youth. At the time of
the interview, 8% lived on the street, 35% lived in shelters, and 57% were
reported staying with family or friends. Some respondents reported entering
street life as young as 9 years of age. Virtually all respondents reported
living on the street or in shelters for at least one week. The average
length of time on the street was more than 4 years at the time of the

Findlay said that 59% of the young women reported a history of pregnancy,
with an average age at first pregnancy of 16 years. A total of 118
pregnancies occurred among the 93 women and of those, 22% chose elective
abortion, and 12% were pregnant at the time of the study.

The findings indicate that ``street youth (in the city of Toronto) get
pregnant more often and terminate less often than the general population,''
Findlay told Reuters Health.


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