The average age of pregnancy in India is 20. In today’s scenario, in Metropolitan cities, where families are small, and women are working full-time, most of the women prefer to get pregnant in their 30s. On the other hand, small cities, and villages in India are still facing the problem of teenage marriage and underage pregnancy. Both underage and over aged pregnancy can cause serious complications in the birth of a child, both for the child and the mother. Most child marriages result in teenage pregnancy due to societal pressure and lack of sexual and reproductive health knowledge. Analysis of National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 reveals that amongst the married girls aged 15 to 19 years in India, 31.5 percent of the sample girls in this age group is there who have babies. It is very important to note and understand that almost one-fourth of the married girls in the 15-16 years age group had at least a baby while more than a one-fourth of the married teenage girls had at least a child at the age of 17 only, while 31% of the girls had a child by the age of 18. Further analysis that several children born to teenage mothers reveal that 27.3 percent of married teenage girls have given birth to one child, and on the other hand, near 4.2 percent of married girls have 2 or more children.
The pattern among the Indian States
The pattern of children ever born amongst these girls differs across different states in India. Findings disclose that there are nearly 12 states where more than 40% of these girls have at least one child or more. Interestingly we find the emergence of some states such as Goa (64%), Mizoram (61%) and Meghalaya (53%), these states with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy amongst early married girls. It is also important to examine and understand that the health status of the girls who had early marriages because early marriage can results sometimes in poor nutritional status of teenage pregnant girls, which will, in turn, result in the birth of undernourished (in another word not wee develop) children. Also, there is an analysis of Body Mass Index (BMI) shows that overall, 36% of married teenage girls (15-19 years) who had below legal age marriage are found to be underweight. State level analysis further indicates that prevalence of underweight amongst 15-19-year-old married girls who had below legal age marriage is found higher in Dadra and Nagar Haveli (68.9%), Gujarat (50.9%), Daman and Diu (44.0%), Rajasthan (43.9%), Nagaland (41.4%), etc. As per NFHS-4 (2015-16), 11.9% of the 15-19-year-old girls were married before the age of 18 years in India, with variations across states. Substantial reduction of child marriage has been observed across states since 2005-06. There are 12 states in India that show a higher prevalence of child marriage than the national average. These are West Bengal (25.6%), Tripura (21.6%),Bihar (19.7%), Jharkhand (17.8%),Dadra and Nagar Haveli (17.5%), Assam (16.7%), Andhra Pradesh (16.6%), Rajasthan (16.2%), Gujarat (13.1%), Telangana (12.9%), Maharashtra (12.1%) and Arunachal Pradesh (12.1%). There are 100 districts located in 14 states that report the highest
prevalence of child marriage across the country. These states are Bihar (20),West Bengal (14), Jharkhand (11), Rajasthan (10), Assam (9), Maharashtra (9), Madhya Pradesh (8), Gujarat (5), Tripura (4), Andhra Pradesh (3), Uttar Pradesh (3), Telangana (2),Karnataka (1) and Odisha (1).
Read Also: Women Rights in India
Prevalence of girl child marriage is found more common in rural areas than urban areas. Wealth index of the households is significantly related to child marriage amongst girls in India. Poorer the households, higher the chance of girls getting married early. Completion of secondary education is much lower amongst married teenage girls than the unmarried girls amongst 15-19 age group across all states. There are 12 states where more than 40% of the teenage married girls
Have at least one child or more. According to the UNICEF (United Nations International Children Emergency Fund) report, the 5 Essential Nutrition Interventions were recognized for Mothers, which brings or brought together or arrived at through national and global consensus are:
1. Emphasized on Improving the quantity and nutrient level of food consumed in the household Ensuring
• Provide access to generalized household food ration through the public distribution system (PDS)
• Provide access to supplementary foods under the service scheme of integrated child development
• Provide access to knowledge which helps to improve the local diet, production and household behaviors through
Nutrition and health education.
2. Emphasized on Preventing micronutrient deficiencies and anemia Providing
• Iron Folic Acid Supplementation deworming
• Pre and peri-conceptual folic acid supplementation
• Universal access to iodized salt
• Malaria prevention and treatment in malaria-endemic areas
• Access to knowledge and support to stop the use of tobacco products during pregnancy
• Maternal calcium supplementation.
• Maternal vitamin A supplementation
3. Emphasized on Increasing women’s access to basic nutrition and health services Providing
•there shall be Early registration of pregnancy
• give weight to the Quality of antenatal, natal checkup, with emphasis on pregnancy weight gain monitoring
Screening and special care of at-risk mothers
4. Emphasized on Improving access to water and sanitation and education related facilities
• Sanitation and hygiene education, including menstrual hygiene.
5. Emphasized on Empowering women to prevent pregnancies too early, too often and too close together
• Ensuring marriage at/after the legal age of 18 through awareness and also ensuring that the girl must complete
• Prevent maternal depletion by delaying first pregnancy and repeated pregnancies through
family planning, reproductive health information, incentives and services, and maternity
• Promoting a community support system for women to support decision making, confidence
the building, skill development, economic empowerment.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a woman is born will all the eggs she will ever have in her life – one to two million. The numbers obviously decline with age as women start menstruating. A woman can get pregnant all the while she is menstruating, but her fertility starts declining at the age of 32, and this process fastens as she reached the age of 37.
As we all somehow aware of the fact that teenage is the time when a woman is most fertile, which makes that teenage, biologically the best age to get pregnant. But it’s only a woman’s body which is ready but not the rest of her. Various biological fraternities were in the opinion that the late twenties could be the best age for a woman to get pregnant as she is mature enough to have a baby and also mature enough to take care of her baby.
Also, Another study published in the Human Reproduction Journal in which found that women in their late 30s have 50 percent lower chance of getting pregnant even during their most fertile days as compared to women who are in their early 20s. Maybe for some lady conceiving in their 30s is easy according to them, but then the chances of stillbirth and the risk of having a baby with down syndrome are more, according to AGOC. Also, problems like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm birth are found very common in women who conceive late. But with the advancements in technology, it’s very easy to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby even if women are getting older. One of the extra benefits of having kids in the late 30s is that these kids tend to have better cognitive skills as compared to the ones born to younger moms. Older moms are also financially stable and have higher levels of education, exceptions were there, but most of them are well educated, which may be a factor behind these kids being smarter. And in last No age is perfect or having a baby, but some ages have more advantage if we compare the early age lady in terms of pregnancy.