One-third of women in developing countries are forced to bear the burden of motherhood during adolescence

Three-quarters of girls who become mothers for the first time at age 14 or younger are those whose second child is also born in adolescence.

About a third of women living in developing countries are forced to bear the burden of motherhood during adolescence. India is also included in these developing countries. It is estimated that about 16% of babies born each year have mothers aged 19 or under.

According to the report, this is having a direct effect on the healthy and social development of them and the unborn child. Not only that, but the risk of violating their human rights also increases considerably. This information has come out in the report ‘Motherhood in Childhood: The Untold Story’ published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

If you look, the age of these teenage girls is 19 or in many cases much younger than that. This is an age when these girls are weaving their dreams of a better future. In this situation, the burden of motherhood that falls on them can make them weak physically and mentally.

The report revealed that complications of childbirth are the leading cause of death and damage to the health of these teens. But at the same time, because of this, child marriage, violence and the impact on mental health are also serious problems. Significantly, the risk of this is higher for girls who become mothers at a very young age.

The data showed that there are 21 million cases of teenage girl pregnancies (aged 15 to 19) each year in low- and middle-income countries. Of which about half, that is, 10 million are unexpected. About a quarter of those 21 million cases, or 5.7 million, result in abortions, most of them in unsafe conditions. If seen, it is a major threat to the health of these teens.

When they reach the age of 40, these girls have become the mother of about five children.

According to this report by the United Nations agency, it is common for women to give birth to children at an early age in adolescence, giving birth to more children in adolescence. It has been found that three-quarters of girls who are first-time mothers at age 14 or younger are those whose second child is also born in adolescence.

At the same time, about 40% of girls become mothers of a third child even before the end of adolescence. On the other hand, if we look at the figures from 2015 to 2019, when they reach the age of 40, these girls have become mothers of about five children.

a nurse examining a 16-year-old pregnant girl in Guatemala; Photo: Patricia Willock / UNICEF

According to the report, if we look globally, then sub-Saharan Africa has the highest average of teenage mothers. It is estimated that about 46 percent of women in this area are forced to bear the burden of motherhood during adolescence. However, not much has changed in this situation in recent decades.

The situation is worse in African countries

At the same time, the situation in the African countries Niger, Mozambique and the Central African Republic is the worst among the countries whose data have been analyzed. Where 73% of Nigerian women become mothers before the age of 20. While in Mozambique this figure is 67 percent and in the Central African Republic, 66 percent.

It has been found that there are 18 countries in the world where more than half of women are still mothers in adolescence. This figure is higher than the average for low- and middle-income countries six decades ago. Significantly, all of these 18 countries are from sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, outside the region, the situation is worse in Bangladesh, where about 48% of women exercise maternity responsibilities during adolescence.

It is true that the signs of declining incidence of motherhood in young and adolescent women worldwide are said to be encouraging, but there is no denying that the pace of progress in this direction is still worrying. Much slower than. Speaking of figures from 60 years ago, about 50% of women became mothers at age 20 or younger. According to the UNFPA, these cases are declining at a rate of about three percent every decade.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA, says that when nearly a third of the female population in developing countries is becoming mothers during adolescence, it is clear that the world is not helping teenage girls. In this situation, you need to make sure that you are guaranteed access to this information and services as soon as possible.

In this situation, the head of the United Nations agency has stressed that governments must invest in a better future for adolescent girls, expanding opportunities, resources and skills to prevent young girls and unwanted pregnancies. He says that when these girls will have a chance to decide their own life path. Then the cases of being a mother in childhood will also decrease continuously.

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