PETALING JAYA: Research has shown that an average of 18,000 teenage girls in Malaysia get pregnant each year. Out of this number, 25% or about 4,500 cases involve pregnancy out of wedlock.

Citing 2015 statistics from the health ministry, experts from the UM Specialist Centre (UMSC) said while the latest figures for 2018 have not been released, they believe teenage pregnancy is on the rise.

“These numbers could be the tip of the iceberg as many cases are likely unreported,” UMSC obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Aizura Syafinaz Ahmad Adlan told Bernama in a recent joint interview with her sister, UMSC psychiatrist Dr Aida Syarinaz.

The data also showed that around 14 in every 1,000 underage girls in Malaysia get pregnant every year, which adds up to an average of 18,000 girls per year. In comparison, Singapore’s rate is four pregnancies for every 1,000 underage girls, and Hong Kong’s, three out of every 1,000.