Early Pregnancy & child birthApproximately 12 million girls aged 15–19 years and at least 777 000 girls under 15 years give birth each year in developing regions. The leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 years globally is complications from pregnancy and childbirth.
The UN Population Division puts the global adolescent birth rate in 2020 at 43 births per 1000 girls this age – country rates range from 1 to over 200 births per 1000 girls (5). This indicates a marked decrease since 1990. This decrease is reflected in a similar decline in maternal mortality rates among girls aged 15–19 years.
One of the specific targets of the health Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3) is that by 2030, the world should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
Adolescents need and have a right to comprehensive sexuality education, a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. Better access to contraceptive information and services can reduce the number of girls becoming pregnant and giving birth at too young an age. Laws that are enforced that specify a minimum age of marriage at 18 can help. Girls who do become pregnant need access to quality antenatal care. Where permitted by law, adolescents who opt to terminate their pregnancies should have access to safe abortion.