Adolescence is life stage typical of Homo sapiens. Reproduction during adolescence, i.e. teenage pregnancies is still listed among the most important public health problems of the 21rst century, although low maternal age may be a marker for social rather than biological or medical disadvantage. Data from developed countries indicate that an optimal prenatal program eliminates obstetrical risks among adolescent mothers and adverse pregnancy outcome is mainly due to socioeconomic cofactors. Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned and result often in a social disaster. It is well documented that teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of school and have a low educational level. They are faced with unemployment and poverty. Consequently nearly all developed countries try to reduce teenage pregnancies and teenage motherhood effectively. The different countries however, use different strategies and these strategies differ regarding their effectiveness. In this review beside general aspects of pregnancies during adolescence, strategies to reduce teenage pregnancy rates are discussed. In particular the decline in teenage motherhood in Austria since the 1970s and is highlighted.
Keywords: Adolescence, decline in teenage pregnancy rates, pregnancy outcome, secular trends, sex education, social support, teenage mothers, reproductive capability, obstetric problems, maternal and child health