Too many births, births too close together and births to adolescent girls under 18 and women over 35 endanger the lives of women and adolescents and their infants.
Family planning is one of the most effective ways to improve women's and children's health and survival. Family planning services provide women and men with information, education and the means to plan when to begin having children, how many to have, how far apart to have them and when to stop. However, millions of women of childbearing age, including adolescent girls, do not have control over limiting pregnancies or spacing births, nor do they have access to effective family planning methods.
Both women and men have the right to choose how many children to have and when to have them. With family planning services they are enabled to make informed decisions on pregnancy by taking into account the benefits and risks, including those related to age and level of access to health services.
Ensuring access to family planning services for women and men, and to education for all children would help prevent many maternal and child deaths and disabilities, particularly in countries where marriage occurs early in life. Together these measures can contribute to women's, adolescent girls' and children's right to survival, health and well-being.
The health of women and children can be significantly improved when births are spaced at least two years between the birth of the last child and the beginning of the next pregnancy.
Health risks increase for both the mother and the child when pregnancy occurs before age 18 or after age 35.
Both men and women, including adolescents, need to know about the health benefits of family planning so they can make informed choices.
1. Pregnancy before the age of 18 or after the age of 35 increases the health risks for the mother and her baby. Supporting Information
2. For the health of both mothers and children, a woman should wait until her last child is at least 2 years old before becoming pregnant again. Supporting Information
3. The health risks of pregnancy and childbirth increase if a woman has had many pregnancies. Supporting Information
4. Family planning services provide men and women of childbearing age with the knowledge and the means to plan when to begin having children, how many to have, how far apart to have them and when to stop. There are many safe, effective and acceptable methods of planning for and avoiding pregnancy. Supporting Information
5. Both men and women, including adolescents, are responsible for family planning. Both partners need to know about the health benefits of family planning and the available options. Supporting Information