Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes among adolescents in developing countries

WHO guidelines

World Health Organization

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Publication details

Number of pages: 195
Publication date: 2011
Languages: English (policy brief available in English, French and Spanish)
ISBN: 978 92 4 150221 4


Other language versions (policy briefs and presentations)

Detailed policy brief


The WHO guidelines, Preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes among adolescents in developing countries, provide both a call to action and directions for future research on:

  • preventing early pregnancy: by preventing marriage before 18 years of age; by increasing knowledge and understanding of the importance of pregnancy prevention; by increasing the use of contraception; and by preventing coerced sex; and
  • preventing poor reproductive outcomes: by reducing unsafe abortions; and by increasing the use of skilled antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care.

They are primarily intended for policy-makers, planners and programme managers from governments, nongovernmental organizations and development agencies. They are also likely to be of interest to public health researchers and practitioners, professional associations and civil society organizations.

They have been developed through a systematic review of the evidence and through consultation with policy-makers, programme managers and front-line workers from countries around the world, in partnership with many key international organizations working in this field - the Guttmacher Institute, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), FHI 360), the Population Council, and Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales, CREP (Argentina).

Their development has been supported financially by the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. (IPPF) Similar partnerships have been forged to distribute them widely and to support their use.