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Fertility: Adolescent

Elizabeth Cooksey


Adolescent fertility refers to the childbearing of women who are less than 20 years old. Despite recent declines in adolescent fertility levels throughout the world, over 15 million babies are born to adolescent women each year. Adolescent fertility rates (defined as the annual number of live births to girls aged 15–19 per 1,000 girls aged 15–19) vary considerably by world region. The worldwide average for the period 2000–5 is estimated at approximately 50 per 1,000, but rates in Sub-Saharan Africa average 127 per 1,000 where countries such as Liberia, Niger, and Uganda have rates above 200 per 1,000. Adolescent fertility is also relatively high in Latin America and the Caribbean at 71 per 1,000. Together, the industrialized countries have an average rate of 24 per 1,000. As a region, East Asia and the Pacific has the lowest figure of only 18 per 1,000 due to rates of 5 or less in China, Japan, and Korea (UN Population Division 2000). Regardless of the social setting within which adolescent childbearing takes place, there are potentially serious negative health implications associated with adolescent fertility, although the risks are higher in the developing world. Complications resulting from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for female youth in less developed countries where an estimated 70,000 teenage girls die each year from causes related to pregnancy ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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