Maternal Health: Adolescent pregnancy

  • Adolescent pregnancies are more likely to occur in marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities
  • 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
  • In many places girls choose to become pregnant because they have limited educational and employment prospects
  • Often, in such societies, motherhood is valued and marriage or union and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available
  • An additional cause of unintended pregnancy is sexual violence, which is widespread with more than a third of girls in some countries reporting that their first sexual encounter was coerced.

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