Every year, over 13 million girls aged 15–19 give birth in low- and middle-income countries, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Many of these young mothers are married, first-time parents, and are often under family and community pressure to have a second child quickly. Young mothers who have a second child very rapidly can suffer complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Their children may also experience adverse health outcomes from rapid, repeat pregnancies.1
In many contexts, the youngest mothers (ages 15–24) are less likely than older mothers to use health services, including postpartum family planning, for themselves and their children, increasing their vulnerability to rapid repeat pregnancy and poor health outcomes. This life stage, a period of rapid change and vulnerability, is a vital window of opportunity for young women to get the support they need to shape their life-long practices.
A growing body of program experiences have shed light on first-time parents’ needs and related programming considerations. Evidence shows that comprehensive approaches addressing individual, family, community, and health system factors can increase first-time parents’ use of postpartum family planning and other essential health services. While showing promising impact, these comprehensive approaches have proven challenging to scale.2
In this Trending Topic, we share some tools for social and behavior change and examples of materials from around the world. If you would like to share your materials or tools, please contact us or upload them on the Compass.
- Retrieved from https://publichealth.gwu.edu/content/new-project-aims-increase-first-time-parents%E2%80%99-access-family-planning-bangladesh-and-tanzania on 2/3/20.
- Retrieved from https://blog.savethechildren.org/2020/01/scaling-up-first-time-and-young-parent-access-to-postpartum-family-planning-could-small-shifts-change-the-game.html on 2/3/20.
Photo credit: Seun Asala for the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project