Marriage characteristics and reproductive health of adolescents in Turkey: findings from demographic and health surveys 1998 and 2008

Tuğba Adalı, Hacettepe University
Sabahat Tezcan, Hacettepe University

Adolescent reproductive health is an important issue considering its social and medical consequences for adolescents and their children. It is well known that early marriage may interrupt women’s education and prevent them from accessing reproductive health services; according to UNFPA, the risk of death in childbirth is twice as high among 15-19 year-olds as among 20-24 year-olds. This study aims to focus on the recent changes in adolescent marriage and reproductive health indicators to provide insights for action. Data is employed from the nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys of 1998 and 2008. In line with other demographic and health indicators, Turkey has shown a decreasing trend of adolescent (15-19) marriage: The proportion of ever-married women of this age group has decreased from 30 percent in early 1980s to 10 percent in 2008. However, considering the three million population of women in this age group in Turkey, adolescent marriage is still an important issue. Despite a decrease in overall proportion married, findings suggest no improvement in some marriage characteristics like consanguineous marriages. Sixty three percent of ever-married adolescents have been at least once pregnant according to TDHS-2008, indicating the beginning of childbirth is barely unavoidable once women enter into unions. It is a well-known fact that adolescent pregnancies have important risks for mothers and children. Although antenatal care for adolescent pregnant women has increased by a large extent from 1998 to 2008, proving improvements in provision of health services. Special attention should be given to the prevention of early age marriages and pregnancies.

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Presented in Session 64: Sexual and reproductive health: infertility and assisted reproductive technologies