“Motherhood in Childhood”: Consequences of Early Marriage on Pregnancy Outcomes Among Undocumented Bangladeshi Migrants in Kolkata, India

Ankita Siddhanta , International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Adopting respondent driven sampling, data was collected in 2016 from 200 female undocumented cross border Bangladeshi migrants to explore influence of early marriage on pregnancy outcomes focussing on vulnerabilities at border. Most of the migrants had ‘Very Early marriage’ and only one-tenth were married off at legal age. Among the migrants who had ‘childhood cut short’, a considerable proportion got pregnant within 6 months of marriage with mean age of pregnancy 15.7 years. Very high proportion of migrants who were ‘too young to wed’ had experienced adverse pregnancy outcomes. Almost half migrants, who had ‘motherhood in childhood’, experienced at least one miscarriage and another substantial proportion experienced 2 or more infant deaths. Shockingly, female migrants who faced harassment while crossing the border also experienced adverse pregnancy outcomes. Protecting Bangladeshi child brides and young migrants is essential to tackle their reproductive health risks which gets escalated by undocumented nature of migration.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth