Such results suggest a need for screening for depression and violence among pregnant women, Kingston said. Few pregnant and postpartum women are routinely screened for violence at present in Canada, something that is mandatory in Australia and the U.K.
"Women often don't tell their provider they're suffering, whether it's depression or domestic abuse," she said. "That's why there needs to be a routine screening process. If you don't screen, the need may not be identified and women are not linked to resources like counselling and other help that's available."
Teens later to start prenatal care
The data also showed that teen moms were more likely to start prenatal care late, more likely to engage in risky behaviour like smoking, and less likely to breastfeed.
Some 15.5 per cent of teen moms started prenatal care late, double the rate for moms in their 20s and nearly four times that for adult mothers.
Fewer teens reported initiating breastfeeding than older women. Just 19 per cent breastfed for three months or more, compared with 30 per cent of moms in their 20s and 41 per cent of adult women.
Teens were also far more likely to smoke during and after pregnancy (29 per cent and 50.9 per cent, respectively) than women in their 20s (23.6 per cent and 33.9 per cent) and adult women (7.8 per cent and 12.7 per cent).
Such results might not be surprising given the nature of unplanned teen pregnancies, but the high smoking rates among young adults was a surprise, Kingston said, as was the decision of moms to continue smoking after delivery.
"That suggests there's considerable opportunity for teaching, identifying needs and linking women to services they need through prenatal and postpartum care."
|Contact: Bryan Alary|
University of Alberta