Girlhood, Not Motherhood

Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy

No. of pages: 58

Publication Date: December 2015

Author: UNFPA

ISBN: 978-0-89714-986-0

When a girl becomes pregnant, her present and future change radically, and rarely for the better. Pregnancy before a girl is physically, developmentally and socially ready jeopardizes her right to a safe, successful transition into adulthood.

This publication presents strategic thinking and reviews the best available evidence on effective strategies and interventions to empower girls and reduce their vulnerability to adolescent pregnancy. Drawing from the evaluated evidence, it provides guidance on how to implement effective programmes that operate at multiple levels and with multiple stakeholders, including and most importantly, with the adolescent girl.

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Angie and Jazmin were both teen mothers in Lima, Peru. They both say they did not have access to comprehensive sexuality education. © Paco Chuquiure
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"I became pregnant at 14 years old,” Angie told UNFPA. Now 19, she lives with her son in a low-income area on the margins of Peru’s capital, Lima, in the densely populated Villa El Salvador District.
Fern* is living in an emergency home, a shelter offering crisis care and maternal care for teen mothers. © UNFPA/Ruth Carr
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“I had plans for my life, but since I got pregnant I had to plan for my life in a different way,” said Fern*, 18. “If I knew this was going to happen, I would have just focused on my studies. I would not have bothered with that guy.”
Thiri became pregnant at age 15. A marriage was hastily arranged for her, and she dropped out of school. © UNFPA Myanmar/Yenny Gamming
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Every year, almost 50,000 teenage girls in Myanmar give birth, according to data from the 2014 census. Thiri* was one of them. She became pregnant when she was only 15 years old.

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