Mortality Rates Much Higher for Teen Moms

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Teen pregnancy, which folks like to think is a thing of the past, is, in fact, quite the opposite, particularly in developing nations. Turns out, it's also very dangerous, for both mother and child. According to the United Nation's annual children's survey, teenage mothers younger than fifteen are five times more likely to die from pregnancy complications or in childbirth than their counterparts who are nineteen or older. According to the "The State of the World's Children 2009" report, the younger a mother is when she gives birth, the higher the threat to her health and that of her infant.

UNICEF has found that worldwide, 70,000 teenage mothers between the ages of 15 and 19 die each year from pregnancy or childbirth complications. Additionally, if a mother is younger than nineteen, her infant's chances of dying in the first year are 60% greater than if the mother is older. Basic maternal and prenatal care are often not available to many women in the developing world -- things we often take for granted. It is estimated that in Africa, women face a one-in-26 chance of dying during childbirth and from pregnancy complications; that number is the highest in the world, and is 300 times higher than for a woman in an industrialized country like the US. Africa remains the most difficult place to make it through childhood -- half of the 9.2 million children who died before their fifth birthdays in 2007 were in Africa.

Why are so many young women in developing nations becoming mothers? Most child marriages occur in South Asia or Africa, which puts young girls at risk. The report notes younger mothers in those nations are also more likely to be the victims of violence and exploitation. Teenage brides have to drop out of school and are unable to work, which limits their personal options.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.