Teen pregnancy is recognized as a high-risk condition because it is associated with obstetric complications such as preeclampsia, preterm delivery, low-birth-weight infants, and neonatal death, especially in very young teens [2-4]. This was recognized as early as 1856 by Alcott [1] and is true across cultures and continents [2]. Adolescent pregnancy is a significant public health issue in the United States and in other nations [1-3]. Adolescents have been establishing pregnancies throughout recorded history and presumably before. Throughout history, depending on food availability and the health of the population, menarche occurred earlier or later. With sexual maturity came sexual activity and pregnancy. In colonial America, teen pregnancy was possibly the norm, and young marriage was certainly acceptable. The values associated with marital versus premarital sex have fluctuated based on economics of the time and the cultural and religious beliefs of an individual community. In the twentieth century, the average age of marriage and childbearing in the United States and Europe increased as formal education and the need for extended preparation for careers increased. The highest rate of teen pregnancy in the United States was in 1957, but it was not identified as a "problem" by the government until the 1970s, when the rate was already headed downward [1]. The teen pregnancy rate, which in the United States in 1995 was 57 per 1,000, is however much higher than it is in other developed countries such as the United

Kingdom (28/1000), Europe (France: 10/1,000, Italy 7/1,000) and Japan (4/1,000) and compares to developing nations [2, 3].

There is evidence that nutrition and appropriate weight gain in the adolescent pregnancy have a relationship to obstetric risks [5, 6] and thus may be amenable to intervention. There is also modest indication in the available literature that nutritional interventions for pregnant teens can positively affect pregnancy outcome [7]. The young pregnant woman, however, has many obstacles impinging on her ability and/or desire to eat a healthy, adequate diet. A multitude of social problems such as substance abuse, incest, truancy, sexually transmitted infections, poverty, and dysfunctional families may influence her [3, 9, 10]. This chapter reviews these issues and possible complications that can result from adolescent pregnancy. Also, important nutritional considerations for maintaining optimal health of the teenager during pregnancy are discussed as well as assessment and interventions specific to the adolescent mother.

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