Motherhood in Childhood: the Global Teen Pregnancy Crisis

By Chrysula Winegar

October 30, 2013

motherhood_in_childhoodMy little girl, a mother before her life really gets started. Can you imagine? And yet, this scenario plays out thousands of times a day around the world.

According to the latest State of World Population report, released today by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), every day 20,000 girls below age 18 give birth in developing countries—nearly 30 percent of these new mothers are younger than 15 years old. Nine in 10 of these births occur within marriage or a union.

If current trends continue, the number of births to girls under 15 could rise to 3 million a year in 2030.

The story of world population is the story of adolescent pregnancy and its serious impacts on girls’ education, health and long-term employment opportunities. When a young girl becomes pregnant, her present and future radically change, and it is rarely for the better…Typically her education will end, her job prospects will evaporate, and she becomes more vulnerable to health problems, social exclusion, and falling into poverty.

This is not just an “over there” issue. There are still 680,000 births to adolescent mothers in developed countries each year, and while these rates have been declining, nearly half of these occur in the United States.

So what can we do?

According to UNFPA, “We need to ensure that girls are enrolled in school and attend classes until at least 18. Education is one of the most effective ways of delaying marriage and pregnancy until adulthood.”

Take Action Challenge

Share these four facts with your networks and encourage them to join you in raising awareness:

  • Every day, 20,000 girls below age 18 give birth in developing countries. #SWOP2013  http://bit.ly/169G55F
  • #Childmarriage puts girls at risk of early, unwanted pregnancies and poses life-threatening consequences http://bit.ly/169G55F #SWOP2013
  • Educated adolescent girls are likely to delay childbearing & reach their full potential. #SWOP2013 http://bit.ly/169G55F
  • Estimated 70,000 teen girls in developing countries die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. #SWOP2013

You can learn more about the ‘State of World Population’ and see what UNFPA is doing to help  here: www.unfpa.org/swop.

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