In spite of this, few health services are tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of child brides, who are hard to reach and are often unaware that services such as family planning are in place to support them.
Child marriage affects many aspects of a girl’s health. Neither physically or emotionally ready to give birth, child brides face higher risk of death in childbirth and are particularly vulnerable to pregnancy-related injuries such as obstetric fistula. Unable to assert their wishes and negotiate safe sexual relations with their often older husbands, child brides are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS than unmarried girls of the same age.
When a girl marries as a child, the health of her children suffers too. The children of child brides are more likely to be born with a low birth weight and are 60% more likely to die in their first year of life than those married to mothers older than 19.