Motherhood in childhood is a huge global problem, especially in developing countries, where every year 7.3 million girls under 18 give birth, according to The State of World Population 2013, released today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
Of these 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls 14 or younger, who suffer the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstetric fistula, according to the report, entitled, "Motherhood in childhood: facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy".
The report places particular emphasis on girls 14 and younger who are at double the risk of maternal death and obstetric fistula.
'Motherhood in childhood" offers a new perspective on adolescent pregnancy, looking not only at the girls' behaviour as a cause of early pregnancy, but also at the actions of their families, communities and governments.
"Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant," said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. "The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl's control. It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care."