Factors Influencing high adolescent pregnancy rate in Riobamba, Ecuador

Authors: , , , ,


The country of Ecuador has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Risk factors associated with this pregnancy rate need to be explored to effectively implement educational youth programs.1 Early sexual initiation, poor reproductive health knowledge, and disruption of family structure are hypothesized to be major risk factors of adolescent (<20 years) motherhood (AMH) in Riobamba, Ecuador.2 We conducted a case-control study with case being women <20 years of age during first pregnancy and control being women ≥20 years of age during first pregnancy. Controls were not matched. The study took place in June/July of 2021 in five public governmental primary health clinics within Riobamba, Ecuador with the primary goal of determining risk factors associated with AMH. Age responses were used to designate group status. Risk factors were analyzed using Welch’s two-sample t-tests and Fisher’s Exact tests. 198 participants were analyzed: 99 who had AMH and 99 who had non-AMH. Adolescent mothers were significantly younger during first sexual encounter than adult mothers. Adolescent mothers were also more likely to lack reproductive health knowledge and have a disruption in family structure. While our study was able to broadly explore the risk factors for AMH, the underlying causes of these risk factors, such as societal pressures, need to be examined further. Early education about sexual health and use of contraception should be an initial goal of Riobamba’s programs to reduce AMH.

Keywords: Ecuador, Latin America, adolescent medicine, adolescent pregnancy

How to Cite: Haus, K. M. , House, H. R. , Martínez, P. , Schuette, A. & Kneese, G. S. (2023) “Factors Influencing high adolescent pregnancy rate in Riobamba, Ecuador”, Proceedings in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 12(1). doi: