Teenage pregnancy is a major cause of maternal and child mortality worldwide. WHO has published a newsletter, which summarizes the main causes and recommendations to reduce this tendency.
Teen Pregnancy: Key Factors
Every year, early pregnancy occurs in 16 million adolescent girls (one of five) worldwide, but mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Three million girls aged 15-19 have abortions every year, and this operation is not always carried out in appropriate conditions. In low- and middle-income countries, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 years. Cases of stillbirth and neonatal death among teenage mothers are 50% more likely to occur than in women aged 20-29 years. The children of teenage mothers often have low birth weight.
Teen Pregnancy Factors
The WHO fact sheet also lists several factors of teenage pregnancy.
Restriction of rights to education and employment in low- and middle-income countries and specific social norms in some of these states.
Lack of knowledge about prevention of pregnancy, and lack of available contraception.
Sexual violence. More than a third of the girls in some countries report that their first sexual intercourse was forced.
WHO’s Preventive Actions
In May 2011, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution calling on states to promote measures to improve the health of young people. The following specific measures were offered: revision of the policy to protect young people from early childbearing; access to contraception; access to accurate information about sexual and reproductive health and early marriage.