Leading Cause of Death for Teenage Girls Is Pregnancy and Childbirth

A leading aid group has reported that teenage girls in the developing world have a high risk of dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications. According to Save the Children, approximately 70,000 girls and 1 million infants die each year due to childbirth or related problems. Save the Children found that in developing countries, pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among teenage girls.

Mike Kiernan, a spokesperson for Save the Children, told the Associated Press that “The main difference between the United States and [high-risk countries in the developing world] is that far fewer [US] girls and their babies dies from complications, and that’s because of access to health care.”

The group is urging that alternatives to early marriage and motherhood “must be made available if young girls are to survive and thrive,” pointing to research that “shows that girls who receive an education are less likely to have babies at a young age.”

According to the study, the countries that have the highest risk for teenage girls include sub-Saharan Africa, Niger, Liberia, Mali, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Yemen.

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Associated Press 5/4/04; Save the Children 5/4/04

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