There are still many countries, mainly in Africa, where more than 30 per cent of women give birth to their first child before the age of 18. The maternal death rate is three times higher for teenage mothers than for women in the age group of 20-29. Teenage pregnancy also closes the opportunity for education and training. The younger a woman is when she first gives birth, the longer her total child bearing period and more children she is likely to have. But demographic health surveys conducted show a change in women's views about 'ideal family size'. In almost half of the 20 nations for which data are available, women want at least one child less than they did 10 to 15 years ago.
Percentage of women become mothers by the age of 18
|%aged 20-24 mothers by 18|
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