The rates of teen pregnancy and births in Vietnam compare favorably to neighboring and other low- and middle-income countries.
According to the World Bank, birth rates per 1000 teenagers aged 15–19 in Vietnam fluctuated between 19, rising steadily from to 34 between 19, then declining to 28 in 2002.
Folk poems (Ca Dao) portray young girls who are married at age 12 or 13, and become unprepared mothers of five children by the time they are 18 .
Today, however, as Vietnam experiences rapid cultural shifts in the context of increasing globalization, this once half-mocking, half-endearing image of 18-year-old mothers of multiple children has taken on an entirely different meaning: one of shame, failure, and anxiety, not only for the young girls, but also for their families and larger society.
Results of this study show that the prevalence of pregnancy among Vietnamese teenagers in the surveys was stable at 4%, or 40 pregnancies per 1000 adolescent girls aged 14 to 19.
Age, experience of domestic violence, and early sexual debut were positively correlated with higher odds of teenage pregnancy for both survey cohorts; however, being an ethnic minority, educational attainment, sexual education at school, Internet use, and depressive symptoms were significantly related to teenage pregnancy only in the 2008 cohort.
Regional comparisons, while useful in indicating broad geographical patterns, do not reveal the wide disparities in adolescent pregnancies between and within countries resulting from their particular socio-political and cultural contexts.
For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent birth rates are teenagers in Mauritius, and 229 in Guinea .
As elsewhere, teen pregnancy in Vietnam should be understood and addressed in its particular historical and socio-cultural context.
Teenagers becoming pregnant outside of marriage embodies nuanced interactions between two significant social transformations in Vietnamese society: the emergence of teenagers as an unprecedented distinct social group [12,13,14], and a quiet “sexual revolution” occurring in Vietnam, both of which accompany modernization and globalization [15,16].