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Abstract

Data from the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1982-1984, were analyzed to describe pregnancy, miscarriage, and age-specific birth rates as well as oral contraceptive use among Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban-American females age 12 to 19 years. The Cuban-American sample (n= 85) had the lowest pregnancy (99) and fertility (37) rates, with 6.5% ever having used oral contraceptives. In the Mexican-American (n= 638) and Puerto Rican women (n= 300) the pregnancy and fertility rates were 205 and 223, and 141 and 110, respectively. Of these two groups, 14.5% and 12.6% had ever used oral contraceptives. These results suggest that Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans are at risk for adolescent pregnancy, with the latter having more of the sociodemographic characteristics associated with the long-term disadvantages of early childbearing. These facts have implications for nursing practice and research.