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High Risks

High Risk Pregnancies

A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that involves increased health risks for the pregnant person, unborn baby or both. Certain health conditions and your age (being over 35 or under 17 when pregnant) can make a pregnancy high risk. These pregnancies require close monitoring to reduce the chance of complications.

Teen Pregnancy

Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15–19 years globally, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of global maternal deaths of women aged 15–49 years.3 Adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20–24 years. 4 Additionally, some 3.9 million unsafe abortions among girls aged 15–19 years occur each year, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems.1

Early childbearing can increase risks for newborns as well as young mothers. Babies born to mothers under 20 years of age face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.4 In some settings, rapid repeat pregnancy is a concern for young mothers, as it presents further health risks for both the mother and the child.17

(1) Darroch J, Woog V, Bankole A, Ashford LS. Adding it up: Costs and benefits of meeting the contraceptive needs of adolescents. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2016. (3) Neal S, Matthews Z, Frost M, et al. Childbearing in adolescents aged 12–15 years in low resource countries: a neglected issue. New estimates from demographic and household surveys in 42 countries. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2012;91: 1114–18. Every Woman Every Child. The Global Strategy for Women`s, Children`s and Adolescents` Health (2016-2030). Geneva: Every Woman Every Child, 2015. (4) WHO. Global health estimates 2015: deaths by cause, age, sex, by country and by region, 2000–2015. Geneva: WHO; 2016. (17) WHO. Making health services adolescent friendly: Developing national quality standards for adolescent friendly health services. Geneva: WHO; 2012.

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