Leaders of armed groups often strongly advise their members to avoid pregnancies, due to the dangers that guerrilla soldiers face in the mountains and jungle areas where they operate and carry out battles. Some armed groups also give out contraceptives. However, intimate relationships between guerrilla soldiers emerge and some female soldiers become pregnant and give birth during war. The challenges they face with a new-born baby in a war zone are enormous and the options they have for how to take care of the child are quite limited. Female soldiers often carry the heaviest burden in these cases.
Wenche Iren Hauge is a political scientist and Senior Researcher at PRIO. She has published extensively on the gender dimensions of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes.