Reproductive Health in Asia

The State of Contraception, Abortion, Child Marriage, Adolescent Pregnancy and Maternal Mortality in Asia


Primary Content

Contraception and Abortion in Asia

  • As of 2017, almost 132 million women of reproductive age in Asia have an unmet need for modern contraception.
  • An estimated 53.8 million unintended pregnancies occur each year in Asia. Of these, nearly two-thirds (65%) end in abortion.
  • During 2010–2014, an estimated 35.5 million induced abortions occurred each year in Asia. The majority of these abortions occurred in South and Central Asia (16 million), which includes India, and in Eastern Asia (13 million), which includes China.
  • In Asia in 2014, at least 6% of all maternal deaths (or 5,400 deaths) were due to unsafe abortion.
  • While the proportion of abortions performed under unsafe conditions in Asia is not known, it is estimated that 4.6 million women in Asia (excluding Eastern Asia) are treated each year for of complications from unsafe abortion.

Child Marriage and Adolescent Pregnancy in Asia

  • The Asia-Pacific region contains over 60% of the world’s youth population, or 750 million young persons aged 15 to 24 years.
  • Rates of adolescent childbearing have dropped significantly in most countries of Asia and the Pacific in the past two to three decades. However, the recorded teenage pregnancy rate remains high in many countries of South and South-West Asia, the rate being 35% in Bangladesh, and 21% in Nepal and India.
  • Child marriage is disproportionately high in Asia and the Pacific, in particular South Asia, where 30% of all 15-19-year-old females are in a married union, compared to a world average of 22%.
  • South Asia has the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Almost half (45%) of all women aged 20-24 reported being married before the age of 18. Almost one in five girls (17%) are married before the age of 15.

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in Asia

  • In 2015, around 85,000 women in the region died from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. Every single day, on average, over 200 families suffered the loss of a loved one.
  • In 2015, almost 92% of all maternal deaths in the region – around 78,000 – occurred in just 12 countries.
  • Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Timor-Leste all have particularly high maternal mortality rates, of over 100 deaths per 100,000 live births.