n South African Medical Journal - Improving adolescent maternal health : review

Volume 105, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Each year thousands of adolescent girls and young women in South Africa (SA) become pregnant and many die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Although women of all ages are susceptible, girls < 15 years of age are five times as likely, and those aged 15 - 19 years twice as likely, to die from complications related to childbirth than women in their 20s. In SA, non-pregnancy-related infections (e.g. HIV), obstetric haemorrhage and hypertension contributed to almost 70% of avoidable maternal deaths. In addition to the implementation of standardised preventive interventions to reduce obstetric haemorrhage and hypertension, better reproductive health services for adolescents, access to HIV care and treatment for women infected with HIV, and improved access to and uptake of long-acting reversible contraception are important ingredients for reducing maternal mortality among adolescents.

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