Mortality Rates Much Higher for Teen Moms
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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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