This study systematically reviews the literature on cause of maternal death in adolescence. Where possible the authors have attempted to compare the main causes for adolescents with those for older women to ascertain differences and similarity in mortality patterns. The main causes of maternal mortality in adolescents are broadly similar to those for older women, although the findings suggest some heterogeneity between countries and regions. However there is evidence that the relative importance of specific causes may differ for this younger age group compared to women over the age of 20 years. In particular hypertensive conditions make up a larger share of maternal deaths in adolescents than older women. Further, large scale studies are needed to investigate this question further.


  1. WHO 2014 Adolescent pregnancy factsheet.

  2. Neal S, Matthews Z, Frost M, Fogstad H, Camacho AV, Laski L. Childbearing in adolescents aged 12–15 in developing countries: a neglected issue. New estimates from demographic and household surveys in 42 countries. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012;91:1114–8.

  3. WHO | MDG 5: improve maternal health [Internet]. WHO. 2010. Available from:


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