“It certainly is an intriguing finding,” says Mary Anne Jamieson, an Associate Professor in Queen’s Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, a practicing obstetrician at Kingston General Hospital, and co-author of the paper. “This adolescent pregnancy peak may be explained by biological reasons such as variations in fertility over the course of a calendar year, but it’s also possible that this increased conception rate in March is because of Spring Break.”
The researchers examined all 838 adolescent pregnancies that occurred in the Kingston region over a five-year period and compared the conception rates per month with a random sample of 838 adult conceptions that occurred over the same time period. While more adults conceive overall during the month of March, a larger relative percentage of adolescent pregnancies are conceived at this time compared to adult pregnancies.
This peak in adolescent conceptions coincides with the weeklong break given to all Ontario high school students.
“If Spring Break is the reason behind this upswing in adolescent pregnancies then perhaps just before the vacation would be a good time for a proactive burst of family planning information and access, so teenagers head off for the holiday with contraception awareness and positive sexual health strategies fresh in their minds,” notes Dr. Jamieson.
This study was conducted at Kingston General Hospital and the findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology.