Childhood predictors of becoming a teenage mother among Finnish girls


  • Conflict of interest Dr. Niemelä has consulted at Pfizer and been invited as a lecturer by AstraZeneca. These companies have had no role in designing the study or writing the manuscript. The other authors have no financial relations to disclose.

  • Please cite this article as: Lehti V, Niemelä S, Heinze M, Sillanmäki L, Helenius H, Piha J, Kumpulainen K, Tamminen T, Almqvist F, Sourander A. Childhood predictors of becoming a teenage mother among Finnish girls. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012; 91:1319-1325.

Venla Lehti, Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Itäinen Pitkäkatu 1/Varia, 20014 University of Turku, Finland. E-mail:


Objective. To study predictive associations between psychosocial factors at age 8 and becoming a mother under the age of 20. Design: Prospective follow-up study. Setting: Finland. Population. 2867 girls born in 1981. Methods. Information on family background and psychiatric symptoms was collected at age 8. The associations between these factors and becoming a teenage mother were analyzed using logistic regression analysis. Main outcome measures. Data on births by the age of 20 collected from the hospital discharge register. Results. 128 girls (4.8%) had given birth at the age of 15–19 years. Childhood conduct problems and hyperactive problems, having young mother and family structure other than two biological parents had an independent association with becoming a teenage mother. Conclusions. Girls with externalizing type of problems in childhood have an increased risk of becoming teenage mothers. These problems may also complicate their motherhood.