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Teen Pregnancy Risk Factors for Women of Diverse Sexual Orientation :

March 15, 2018

Teen women considered as sexual minorities (e.g. lesbian or bisexual) are at increased risk for having a teen pregnancy compared to heterosexual women. Is this new information to you?  Wonder why that is?

Teen women considered as sexual minorities (e.g. lesbian or bisexual) are at increased risk for having a teen pregnancy compared to heterosexual women. Is this new information to you?  Wonder why that is?  Charlton et al. (10.1542/peds.2017-2278) certainly thought so and opted to investigate risk factors that vary by sexual orientation for adolescent women.  The authors studied more than 7,000 teen women in a national longitudinal cohort who self-reported risk factors such as being bullied, maltreated as a child, or gender nonconformity among others.  If a teen reported being a sexual minority, further risk factors were investigated, including orientation-related stress, and whether and when they came out.  The results of their multivariate analysis is well worth reading about.  For example, women who had experienced child maltreatment or bullying regardless of sexual orientation had a significant increased risk of becoming pregnant and accounted for a large portion of sexual minority teen pregnancy risk.   However when you adjust for these factors, women of sexual minority who developed this orientation earlier in their lives had an even higher increased risk of coming pregnant as they experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation. The bottom line is that all teen women regardless of sexual orientation will increase their teen pregnancy risk when bullied or when maltreated in childhood, but those who are sexual minorities may still show disparities and increased risk of teen pregnancy due to other factors well delineated in this study.  Link to it and see what preventive strategies you can implement in your care of these women in your practice.

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