‘It is unacceptable that so many girls are dying simply because they do not have access to contraceptives, or because of myths or cultural barriers’
One teenage girl dies every 20 minutes around the world as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, according to new figures which show pregnancy remains the number one killer of girls aged 15 to 19.
Nearly 30,000 teenage girls die every year from complications arising through pregnancy or childbirth, with girls from poorer families and rural areas most at risk, according to the charity Save the Children.
Pregnancy-related problems such as bleeding, blood poisoning, obstructed labour and complications resulting from unsafe abortions are the leading causes of death among older teenage girls around the world.
Babies born to teenage mothers are also at greater risk of infant mortality than those born to slightly older mothers, with the mortality rate 30 per cent higher for babies born to teenagers than for those born to women in their 20s.
Although the overall rate of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths has been declining steadily since 1990, in many countries thousands of girls each year become pregnant before their bodies are ready – sometimes through forced marriage or rape.