9.6.5 Delaying early marriage
Early marriage is the subject of a study session in the Module on Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health.
Another issue is early marriage. Researches in Ethiopia have shown that 50% of women, especially rural women, get married on average at around 16 years, and most of them rapidly become pregnant. This group of very young mothers is at especially high risk of obstructed labour because the pelvis has not grown sufficiently to accommodate the baby’s head. In your discussions with women, their partners and community leaders you can point out these risks of early marriage, and try to persuade them of the importance of delaying the first birth until after the woman is 18. As part of this, you will need to promote contraception (family planning methods) as a way of delaying the first pregnancy among these very young women. If unwanted pregnancy occurs, it is also important to counsel about safe abortion services (as described in the Antenatal Care Module, Part 2, Study Session 20).