Dealing with Adolescent pregnancies
Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high, middle-and low-income countries. Around the world, however, adolescent pregnancies are more likely to occur in marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities.
Several factors contribute to adolescent pregnancies and births. In many societies, girls are under pressure to marry and bear children early.
In least developed countries, at least 39% of girls marry before they are 18 years of age and 12% before the age of 15.
Health consequences associated with adolescent pregnancies include the following:
Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies
Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15–19 years globally
Adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20–24 years
Additionally, some 3.9 million unsafe abortions among girls aged 15–19 years occur each year, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems
Early childbearing can increase risks for newborns as well as young mothers
Babies born to mothers under 20 years of age face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions
In some settings, rapid repeat pregnancy is a concern for young mothers, as it presents further health risks for both the mother and the child