Julien Pouplard. Credit: Unsplash
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Full article issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course.

The high rate of adolescent motherhood across developing countries isn’t shifting, with reductions either modest or absent in some regions and rising in others, according to a global study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre). The study found an urgent need for effective interventions such as sexual education, teenage health services, and national policies that promote economic growth and decrease income inequality in these countries.

Pregnancy and childbirth complications are a leading cause of death in adolescent girls in low-income and middle-income countries, and children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk of infant and child mortality. Adolescent mothers also have high levels of school dropout and lack of opportunities for decent work due to the ‘double burden’ of household duties and child rearing.

'Sociodemographic inequalities play a big part in adolescent motherhood and must be the focus of targeted interventions to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals,' says lead researcher M. Mamun Huda. 'Young women living in the most disadvantageous conditions, those who are poorest, have no education and live in rural locations, have the highest rates of adolescent motherhood. Not only do these groups have the highest prevalence of adolescent motherhood, but they also have elevated risk of poorer maternal and child health outcomes as well as wider social and economic burdens on family, community and country.'

This study was a collaboration between Life Course Centre researchers at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research, Mr Huda, Dr Martin O’Flaherty and Associate Professor Abdullah Mamun, and Dr Jocelyn Finlay of the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Photo credit: 

Image credit:  Julien Pouplard, Unsplash.