Early marriage creates health complications for mothers: physicians


DHAKA, Feb 23, 2019 (BSS) – Kashem Mia lives in a remote village
Laxmandia in Shailkupa upazila of Jhenaidah district along with his wife and
three children at a small house.

He is struggling to meet his day-to-day expenses as he is the lone
bread-earner of his family.

Despite having his extreme economic hardship, Kashem is forced to take
decision to marry off his 10-year-old daughter because of social stigma.

Most of the villagers in his neighborhood have been creating mental
pressure on Kashem’s family for long that his daughter, Sathi has become
eligible to get married.

In the cycle of social stigma Sathi got married and conceives her first
child within a year.

Following her early marriage and pregnancy, her nightmare started when
her first child died during birth under the care of an illiterate midwife.

Like Sathi, in Bangladesh many girls are forced to get married at an
early age and subsequently become victim to the negative outcomes related to
early marriages.

Dr Ferdousi Islam of Gynecology Department of Dhaka Medical College said
marriage and pregnancy before the age of 18 years pushes the life of a girl
into danger.

Early marriages increase the chances for maternal and neonatal death.

“Some of the negative health consequences of early marriage, for both
mothers and their children, are related to the fact these women are so young
– they are more likely to be having their first births and these are always
riskier. Others are related to their physiology, for example, pregnancy
complications associated with young, biologically-immature mothers,” she

Those marrying early may be more susceptible to domestic violence, poor
mental health, and malnutrition, she added.

Dr Ferdousi said around 83 percent mothers give birth to their babies at
home in the country, of which 10 percent is delayed-delivery, but admission
of the mother to the nearest hospital or health centre is very urgent to stop

Besides, most of the mothers suffer from malnutrition due to financial
insolvency and exact knowledge; she said, adding, maternal malnutrition
increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes including obstructed labour,
premature or low-birth-weight babies and postpartum haemorrhage.

According to UNICEF and WHO, Bangladesh has been lauded to cut down the
death of children below five years but death of newborn baby is still a
challenge for the country, as six newborns die every hour which takes the
tally to around 50,000 deaths of newborns annually.

The international organizations have published a new report on children
mortality rate and its trend simultaneously from New York, Geneva and
Washington which said around 63 lakh children aged under 5 years died in 2017
that means in every 5 second a child dies globally. But, we can stop this
from occurring.

UNICEF said over half of 1 lakh children dies before the completion of
28 days, and as per this counting over 50,000 new born babies die annually in
Bangladesh. Respiratory difficulties during birth, contagion and under-weight
related complexities are the main reasons for death of the new born baby.

However, the latest report of UNICEF revealed that 62,000 new born
babies die annually in Bangladesh, of which 50 percent die within the time of
birth to 28 days while the remaining 50 percent die within one day of birth.
But, in general children mortality rate in Bangladesh has decreased.

UNICEF’S “Level and Trends in Child Mortality Report-2017” showed that
in last 25 years child mortality rate has reduced by 73 percent in
Bangladesh. 19 percent newborn baby dies within 7-28 days after birth. While
of the children who die under the age of 5 years, 60 percent of them are
newborn babies. Around 88 percent of the new born die due to respiratory
difficulties during birth, contagion and under-weight related complexities.

Early marriage and pregnancy at an early age is a direct cause of death
for adolescent mothers, said Chairman of Reproduction and Child Health of
Bangladesh University of Health Science Professor Dr Rawshan Ara. She said
birth of those babies take place before time and in some cases they die
instantly due to respiratory problems.

Besides, supply of insufficient nutritious food to mothers during
pregnancy and birth taking place in unhygienic condition at home increases
the infant mortality rate in Bangladesh, said Rawshan Ara.

Department of Family Planning Director Mohammad Sharif said the
government is running newborn health activities nationally and supply of
antibiotic has been ensured in union parishad level to prevent the contagion
of newborn babies.