Almost a third of women in developing countries are mothers before the age of 20

Almost a third of women in developing countries are mothers before the age of 20

July 5, 2022, 4:38 PM

July 5, 2022, 4:38 PM

Nearly a third of women living in developing countries become mothers under the age of 20, according to a study released Tuesday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which specializes in sexual and reproductive health.

According to this study, nearly half of first-time teens are under the age of 17.

“It is clear that the world is failing teenage girls,” lamented in a press release the director of UNFPA, Natalia Kanem.

“The repeat pregnancies we see among teenage mothers are a clear sign that they desperately need sexual and reproductive health information and services,” she added.

Nearly three-quarters of those who had their first child at age 14 or younger gave birth to a second child while still in their teens. And 40% of those who had two children gave birth to a third before leaving adolescence, according to the study.

While UNFPA says it sees encouraging signs around the world of a decline in the teenage birth rate, he feels that the pace is too slow anyway.

“Governments must invest in adolescent girls and help expand their opportunities, resources and skills, thereby helping to prevent early and unwanted pregnancies,” Kanem urged.

“When girls are able to meaningfully decide the course of their own lives, childhood motherhood will become less and less common,” he said.

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