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Effects of adolescent reproductive health behaviour on fertility in Bangladesh

Noor Mohammad, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Suneeta Mukherjee, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Over the last two decades, Bangladesh has undergone a major demographic transition, including a decline in the TFR from 6.3 (1975) to 3.0 (2004). Despite a dramatic decline in the TFR. and a fall in age-specific fertility for all age groups of women, the fertility rate for adolescents (15-19) has increased. The key underlying issue for determining fertility in Bangladesh is adolescents and their sexual and reproductive behavior and the social stigma attached to sex and sexuality, particularly for the young and those communities observing Purdah. Sexual taboos are compounded by a lower mean age of marriage for girls compared to boys, a large spouse age differential (about 9 years on average), early pregnancy, and low birth spacing. The maternal mortality and infant child mortality rates are high for adolescent mothers: in the 15-19 age group, maternal mortality is more than double the rates for women in the 20-29 age group. Furthermore, infant mortality rates are about 30-50% higher among children born to adolescent mothers than those born to women aged 20-29. Approximately 50 percent of adolescent mothers are acutely malnourished (with BMI<18.5).

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Poster Session 1