High-Risk Pregnancies

High-Risk Pregnancies

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4357-3.ch004
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Infant and child survival and their growth and development cannot be improved without good maternity care. Proper planning of births is a basic ingredient of any child survival package. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and in particular HIV infections, unless adequately controlled, can impede further progress in child survival. There are great risks of neglecting sexual and reproductive health; a painful or detrimental transition from adolescence to adulthood can lead to ill effects in the long run. Early pregnancy/motherhood can be physically hazardous for girls and can jeopardize their educational attainment as well as economic potential. In particular, adolescent girls are vulnerable to HIV exposure and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual coercion, violence, as well as exploitation. These have an enormous impact on the physical and mental health of an individual and have long-term implications for them, their offspring, their families, and their communities.
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Key Facts

  • Worldwide, eleven percent of all births and 14 percent of maternal deaths take place among 15 to 19 years old adolescents and 95 percent of adolescent births occur in the developing world (Patton et al, 2009; WHO, 2011).

  • Adolescents are more susceptible to unintended pregnancies; every year 7.4 million (Guttmacher Institute, 2010) and 3 million (WHO, 2011) girls experience unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions respectively.

  • Globally, young people account for 41 percent of new infections among those, aged 15 years or older (UNAIDS, 2010).

  • An estimated 1,300,000 adolescent girls are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) worldwide (UNICEF, 2011).

  • Adolescents with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and resultant unplanned pregnancies and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (UNICEF, 2011).



Maternity is a unique privilege for the mother but a unique burden on women's health. Though in some other aspects of reproductive health, the responsibility for child-bearing is shared by men and women yet the burden is heavily on women for both biological and social reasons. This relates to the burden of sexually transmitted diseases, the regulation of fertility as well as infertility (Fathalla and Fathalla, 2017).

Regulation of fertility is a key element of any strategizing motherhood. It decreases the number of unwanted pregnancies with a consequent decrease in total risk exposure as well as a decline in the number of unsafe abortions. Proper birth planning can also reduce the incidence as well as the number of high-risk pregnancies (Fathalla and Fathalla, 2017).

Globally, it is estimated that more than 220 million women in low middle-income countries (LMIC’s) have an unmet need for family planning (Singh and Darroch, 2012). Overall, there has been little progress in increasing the use of contraception. While an increase in usage of contraception has been slightly higher among young adolescents as compared to older women, this group is more affected by failure of contraception. Moreover, the discontinuation rates and also the use of traditional methods of contraception are still noticed (Blanc et al, 2009; IPPF, 2010).

Estimates indicate that in developing countries, around 214 million women of reproductive age intending to want to avoid unwanted pregnancy; do not employ a modern method of contraception. Some methods of family planning help preventing HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections. The need for abortion, especially unsafe abortion, is reduced by Family planning / contraception. Family planning strengthens the rights of the people to determine their children's number and maintain adequate spacing among them. Family planning / contraception reduce the incidence of higher-risk pregnancies and decreases maternal and infant mortality rates by preventing unintended pregnancy (WHO, 2018).

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