Understanding Pathways to Adolescent Pregnancy in Southeast Asia

Adolescent pregnancy is a major public health and gender priority. Over one million girls in Southeast Asia commence childbearing during adolescence every year, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth remain a leading cause of death of girls aged 15-19 years in this region.

While adolescent birth rates have been declining globally, they have increased in Southeast Asia in the past two decades. The adolescent birth rate in Southeast Asia is now higher than that of South Asia (47 v 35 births per 1000 girls aged 15-19 years).

There is a paucity of qualitative research that attempts to elucidate the drivers of adolescent pregnancy in Southeast Asia, particularly in the context of increasing fertility rates. While household surveys provide useful information on the associations between adolescent pregnancy and potential drivers (such as poverty, low levels of education and early marriage), questions remain about the nature of these relationship, particularly from the perspective of adolescent girls.

The aim of this project is to improve understanding of the drivers and pathways to adolescent pregnancy in Southeast Asia.

This multi-country qualitative study is being conducted with adolescent girls in Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Cambodia, using participatory methods to explore pathways to pregnancy and co-develop recommendations for policy and programs.




UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office Indochina Research Cambodia Empatika Indonesia Indochina Research Laos Federation of Reproductive Health Association Malaysia


UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Julie Hennegan

Research Fellow