Child Pregnancy

Pregnancy amongst women under the age of 20 years is generally referred to as ‘adolescent’ or ‘teenage pregnancy’. The World Health Organization differentiates between pregnancy that occurs between the ages of 15 and 19 years, and those occurring amongst 11- to 14-year-olds, as there are greater physical risks associated with the latter than the former category. The vast majority of early pregnancies worldwide occur amongst older teenagers. This entry examines research on child pregnancy and the ‘causes and consequences’ approach to understanding child pregnancy and further explores interventions and alternative perspectives on the subject.


Research on teen-aged pregnancy first appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Prior to this, social concerns centred on marriage and legitimacy rather than the age of the mother. This shift, ...

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