Background: Young pregnant women who continue a pregnancy are primarily from a socioeconomically deprived background. The risk factors associated with low socio-economic status may independently affect perinatal and neonatal morbidity to a greater extent than the young age of the woman. Young pregnant women are frequently sceptical about health care providers who they can perceive to be judgemental. This may lead to late booking for pregnancy care, attending few appointments, or not attending the health service for any antenatal care.
Question: Does the way maternity care is provided affect maternal and neonatal outcomes for young women?
Method: A systematic search of the major health databases.
Results: Nine research articles met the eligibility criteria: one randomised controlled trial, three prospective cohort studies, two comparative studies with concurrent controls, two comparative studies with historical controls, and one case series.
Discussion: Providing young women with a non-standard model of maternity care has some beneficial and no known detrimental effects on childbirth outcomes. While there is a dearth of evidence on the effectiveness of a Midwifery Group Practice model of care for young women, there is strong evidence to suggest that a Group Antenatal Care model increases antenatal visit attendance and breastfeeding initiation, and decreases the risk of preterm birth. There is research to indicate that a Young Women's Clinic model may also increase antenatal visit attendance and decrease the incidence of preterm birth.
Conclusion: More well-designed and resourced midwifery models of care for young women should be implemented and rigorously researched.