A girl in Spain has become one of the world’s youngest mothers after giving birth at age ten.
She had a child weighing 6lb 6oz during a natural birth last week at a hospital in Jerez de la Frontera, in the southern region of Andalusia.
Both mother and baby have been allowed out of hospital and are in perfect health, but social services are studying the case.
Spanish law does classify “consensual” intercourse with a child under 13 “child abuse”; however, the father is also a minor complicating the issue.
The new child mother is an immigrant from Romania, and her mother has stated to officials that child mothers are “something common in my country”. According to World Health Organization adolescent pregnancy statistics
About 16 million women 15–19 years old give birth each year, about 11% of all births worldwide.
Ninety-five per cent of these births occur in low- and middle-income countries. The average adolescent birth rate in middle- income countries is more than twice as high as that in high-income countries, with the rate in low-income countries being five times as high.
The proportion of births that take place during adolescence is about 2% in China, 18% in Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 50% in sub-Saharan Africa.
Half of all adolescent births occur in just seven countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and the United States.
Although adolescents aged 10-19 years account for 11% of all births worldwide, they account for 23% of the overall burden of disease (disability- adjusted life years) due to pregnancy and childbirth.
Cultural differences aside, as I shared with readers yesterday, my daughter is nine-years-old, and fortunately still a little girl. I can’t imagine that in a year she could be a mother, if her life was the same as this Romanian child.