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Adolescent health and development with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health

Sexual health, adolescent sexual and reproductive health - Course files

Module 3: Pregnancy prevention and fertility regulation in adolescents

Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli
with thanks to Virginia Camacho

From Research to Practice: Training Course in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research 2011

September 16, 2011 - Geneva

 Pregnancy prevention and fertility regulation in adolescents

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Chandra-Mouli V. Pregnancy prevention and fertility regulation in adolescents. Paper presented at: Training Course in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research; 2011 Sep 16; Geneva. Available from: https://www.gfmer.ch/SRH-Course-2011/adolescent-health/Pregnancy-prevention-fertility-regulation-adolescents-Chandra-Mouli-2011.htm

Topics covered in the module

  • What is the magnitude of adolescent pregnancy?
  • What are the consequences of adolescent pregnancy?
  • What are the circumstances in which adolescent pregnancy occurs?
  • What can be done to prevent early pregnancy in adolescents?


  1. Read the following six stories, and say which one/ones would be true in your country.
  2. Read the draft brief for policy makers, and write down what combination of interventions should be applied in your country. Please give reasons for your answer.

The story of Zohra

Zohra is 12 years old.
She lives in a small town of Pakistan.
Her father has a low paid job in a small factory. Her mother is a home maker.
Like other girls in her community, Zohra is likely to be withdrawn from school when she starts her periods and to be married off to a man chosen by her parents.

The story of Maha

Maha is 15 years old. She is from Egypt.
She studies in all girls school.
Maha is embarrassed by all the changes taking place in her body, and confused by the feelings she is having.
She tried to speak to her mother about this without success.
There is no sexuality education in her school (apart from a brief discussion on anatomy and physiology in biology).
But Maha has learned many things from whispered exchanges with her friends in the play ground.

The story of Galina

Galina is 15 years old.
She lives in a small town of Ukraine. Galina is in secondary school and plans to go to university.
One Friday evening, after a birthday party, Galina had sex with her boyfriend Ivan. They did not have condoms, but got carried away by the passion of the moment.
It is Saturday evening now. Galina and Ivan are sick with worry. They have been trying hard to get emergency contraception.
The government clinic where they could get this for a subsidised charge is closed for the weekend. The private pharmacies in town have them in stock but they are very expensive.

The story of Julie

Julie is 17 years old.
She lives in Uganda.
Julie is an attractive and friendly girl.
She is also a good student but has difficulties with maths.
She nearly failed her mid year exam. She desperately wants to do well in her final exam and so asks her maths teacher for help.
He agrees to help her and asks her to stay back at the end of the school day for special lessons.
Julie finds these lessons very useful. She says so to her parents and to her teacher.
After two weeks of these lessons, one day her teacher starts to touch her and to say things that confuse her.
Julie does not know what to do.

The story of Ayleen

Ayleen is 19 years old.
She lives in the Philippines.
Ayleen works in a call centre. Her boyfriend Henry – who is 23 – also works in the same call centre.
Ayleen and Henry are having sex regularly.
From a friend Ayleen learned about the withdrawal method. She (or they) have been using this method to avoid a pregnancy.
Ayleen discovers that she has missed her periods. A check up shows that she is pregnant.
They are both shocked. This would be a big scandal and a huge shock for their staunchly Catholic parents.
They want to have an abortion, but learn that it is illegal.
One of Ayleen's friends tells her that she knows a place where she can have an abortion.

The story of Priya

Priya is 19 years old.
She lives in a small town in Central India with her husband and his family.
Priya is pregnant.
She is both happy and a little afraid because of this.
She wants to go to the local clinic for an antenatal check up, just like her elder brother's wife had done when she was pregnant.
Her mother-in-law does not believe this is necessary. She says that she had 8 children, all delivered at home, without any problems.
Priya's husband agrees.

Assignment documents