A systematic review of risk factors for neonatal mortality in Adolescent Mother's in Sub Saharan Africa

Astha Ramaiya, Ligia Kiss, Paula Baraitser, Godfrey Mbaruku, Zoe Hildon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Worldwide, approximately 14 million mothers aged 15 - 19 years give birth annually. The number of teenage births in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is particularly high with an estimated 50% of mothers under the age of 20. Adolescent mothers have a significantly higher risk of neonatal mortality in comparison to adults. The objective of this review was to compare perinatal/neonatal mortality in Sub Saharan Africa and it's associated risk factors between adolescents and adults. Results: We systematically searched six databases to determine risk factors for perinatal/neonatal mortality, and pregnancy outcomes, between adolescent and adults in SSA. Article's quality was assessed and synthesized as a narrative. Being single and having a single parent household is more prevalent amongst adolescents than adults. Nearly all the adolescent mothers (97%) were raised in single parent households. These single life factors could be interconnected and catalyze other risky behaviors. Accordingly, having co-morbidities such as Sexually Transmitted Infections, or not going to school was more prevalent in younger mothers. Conclusions: Inter-generational support for single mothers in SSA communities appears essential in preventing both early pregnancies and ensuring healthy outcomes when they occur during adolescence. Future studies should test related hypothesis and seek to unpack the processes that underpin the relationships between being single and other risk indicators for neonatal mortality in young mothers. Current policy initiatives should account for the context of single African women's lives, low opportunity, status and little access to supportive relationships, or practical help.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number750
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Adult pregnancy
  • Neonatal mortality
  • Risk factors
  • Single
  • Sub Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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