This book reports on the pregnancies and parenting in an ethnically diverse sample of more than 200 adolescent women. Adolescents were studied prenatally and at regular 6,month intervals for 3 ½ years postpartum. Most of the teens were poor, unmarried, first-time mothers who resided within Southeast San Diego, a poor urban area approximately 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. This study began in 1987 as part of a comprehensive adolescent pregnancy and parenting program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center and continued until 1993. Our purpose in writing this book was to offer researchers, practitioners, program directors, teachers, and graduate and medical students a better understanding of teenage pregnancy and parenthood within the following five domains: adolescent prenatal care and postpartum maternal and infant health outcomes, immediate repeat pregnancy, adolescent mothers' parenting, the role of the adolescent's mother in teenage mothers' parenting, and the baby's father. These emphases were chosen for various reasons. Some reflected our personal interests, some we felt were not adequately addressed in the literature but were a big part of the picture, some reflected a strength of our data set, and some had policy ramifications that we thought were especially topical. In examining these areas, we tried to be practical in what we could synthesize from the already large literature and in what we could realistically address in each chapter. Thus, we strove to put forth a collection of informative, nonredundant, yet fairly comprehensive studies on adolescent pregnancy and parenting as opposed to focusing exclusively on only one single aspect of the phenomenon.
What will become quickly apparent to the more experienced reader is that this book is clearly the union of a pediatrician-adolescent medicine specialist (MEF) and a developmental psychologist (PLE). Although the pediatrician half of this writing team focused mostly on the medical-health issues and the developmental psychologist stayed mainly within the bounds of the adolescent's socio-familial domain, this was truly a collaborative effort wherein we each contributed to all aspects of the book. We believe this work reflects a truly interdisciplinary approach, and we hope this enhanced the book. In our opinion, this was clearly "a collaboration that worked,"1 and we encourage our respective colleagues to do likewise.