Teenage Pregnancy in the Philippines

Teenage pregnancy refers to pregnancy in a female under the age of 20. A pregnancy can take place at any time before or after puberty, with the first menstrual period normally taking place around the ages of 12 or 13, the stage when female becomes potentially fertile. Teenage pregnancy depends on a number of societal and personal factors. Teenage pregnancy rates vary in different regions because of the variety in levels of sexual activity, general sex education provided and access to affordable contraceptive options as well as the economic condition of the families from whom said age group belongs to. (Balacwid 2012) DEFINITION Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant. (UNICEF 2008)


The Philippines has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy among youths aged 15 to 19 compared to the other neighboring countries in the Asia Pacific. According to the National Demographic and Health Survey for 2008, 10 percent of the country’s girls aged 15 to 19 become pregnant with their first child. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) in its 2011 report also revealed that out of 1000 women, there were 53 births recorded from women of the said ages. Provincial Population and Sustainable Development Division (PPSDD) study shows that the total teenage pregnancies recorded in the rural health units of different municipalities accounted to 385 and 374 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. (Balacwid 2012)

in some cases.CAUSES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCIES ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Customs and traditions that lead to early marriage (developing countries) Adolescent sexual behavior which may also be influenced by alcohol and drugs Peer pressure to engage in sexual activity Sexual abuse that leads to rape Poverty Exposure to abuse. However. violence and family strife at home Low self esteem Low educational ambitions and goals Lack of education and information about reproductive sexual health including lack of access to tools that prevent pregnancies Incorrect use of contraception. the young woman fears that she will be rejected by her partner if she refuses to have unprotected sex or insists that he use a condom. it should not be forgotten that. MYTHS ABOUT PREGNANCY AND CONTRACEPTION . lack of self-esteem and self-confidence leads teenagers to consent to unprotected sex. it may be the young man who is afraid to bring up the subject of contraception with his partner. (UNICEF 2008) ‡ FEAR OF ASSERTING ONESELF & FEAR OF REJECTION According to Loignon (1996). Often.

It is impossible to become pregnant during one’s period. Here’s a low down on the facts: Risk for malnutrition Teenage mothers tend to have poor eating habits and are less likely to take recommended daily multivitamins to maintain adequate nutrition during . QUESTIONS THAT MIGHT POP UP FROM THE MINDS’ OF YOUNG GIRLS WHEN PREGNANCY ARISES ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ What is now to happen to my studies? Who would I tell this to? How should I tell this to my parents? What is to happen now? (Philippinestoday. A woman cannot become pregnant if she does not have an orgasm.‡ ‡ A woman cannot become pregnant the first time she has sex. A girl cannot become pregnant if she has not yet had her first menstrual period. Teenage pregnancy would be a very difficult situation to go through particularly if you are born in a country where being socially accepted is a common value.net) RISKS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY There are many reasons teen pregnancies should be avoided. (Loignon 1996) ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Pregnancy is one of the highly critical moments of a woman’s life most especially if it involves young girls with a bright future ahead. There is no risk of pregnancy if the man withdraws before ejaculating. Having sex standing up or with the woman on top prevents pregnancy.

Women who are at increased risk for acquiring this are those who engage in sex before 18. have a pregnancy at or younger than 18. Risk for inadequate prenatal care Teenage mothers are less likely to seek regular prenatal care which is essential for monitoring the growth of the fetus. or have had at least 5 sexual partners. which can cause health problems for the baby. (Singson 2008) Research indicates that teen pregnancy and motherhood can have detrimental socio economic and psychological outcomes for the teen mother and her child. They are also more likely to smoke. keeping the mother’s weight in check. it would shock you to know that we even have a higher abortion rate (25/1. or have had a partner with at least 5 sexual partners. although abortion is illegal. Risk for abortion In the Philippines.000 women). and advising the mother on nutrition and how she should take care of herself to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Risk for acquiring cervical cancer The Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually-transmitted. This is the most common cancer in women secondary to breast cancer. Risk for fetal deaths Statistics of the Department of Health show that fetal deaths are more likely to happen to young mothers and that babies born by them are likely to have low birth weight. POSSIBLE LIFE OUTCOMES ON A TEEN MOTHER ‡ drop out of school .pregnancy. there are more abortions that happen in our country that are not even reported. For sure. wart-forming virus that has been implicated in causing cancer of the cervix.000 women) compared to the United States where abortion is legal (23/1. drink or take drugs during pregnancy.

(UNICEF 2008) MEDICAL OUTCOMES ‡ Research indicates that pregnant teens are less likely to receive prenatal care. as an underdeveloped pelvis can lead to difficulties in childbirth. Risks for medical complications are greater for girls 14 years of age and younger. Young women under 20 face a higher risk of obstructed labour.‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ have no or low qualifications be unemployed or low-paid live in poor housing conditions suffer from depression which may result in suicide live on welfare. As a result of insufficient prenatal care. the global incidence of premature births and low birth weight is higher amongst teenage mothers. which if Caesarean section is not available can cause an obstetric fistula. often seeking it only in the third trimester. At least 2 million of the world’s poorest women live with fistulas. a tear in the birth canal that creates leakage of urine and/or faeces. if at all. (UNICEF 2008) POSSIBLE LIFE OUTCOMES OF THE CHILD OF A TEEN MOTHER ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ live in poverty grow up without a father become a victim of neglect or abuse do less well at school become involved in crime abuse drugs and alcohol Eventually become a teenage parent and begin the cycle all over again.· Complications during pregnancy and delivery are the leading causes of death for girls ‡ ‡ ‡ .

inconvenient locations and hours. Laws and policies also may restrict adolescents’ access to information and services. Sexpression Vol. As a result. health provider attitudes and practices. A basic challenge in advocacy. Modern contraceptive use among adolescents is generally low. Sept 16. especially in traditional societies. Singson. disapprove of premarital sex. Myths about Pregnancy and Contraception. June 14. Young people may hesitate to visit clinics because of lack of privacy and confidentiality. 2012. Jake. Fewer than 5% of the poorest young use modern contraception. by limiting family planning to married people or requiring parental or spousal consent. is the taboo on public discussion of sexual issues. page 4-5. Sept 15. 2012. Young women consistently report less contraceptive usage than men. and decreases with economic status. (UNICEF 2008) FAMILY PLANNING AND YOUNG PEOPLE: CHALLENGES ‡ ‡ ‡ Many societies. Teen Pregnancies in the Philippines. or social norms).aged 15 to 19 in developing countries. <http://showbizandstyle. including the fact that many young people are sexually active before marriage.inquirer.net/lifestyle/view/20080614142572/Teen-pregnancies-in-the-Philippines> . 2012. Winter 2005. More teens becoming Moms. 2012. Sept 15. 2008. (UNICEF 2008) ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ References: Balacwid. June 28. 1996. laws.com. <http://www. for example. evidence of their unequal power in negotiating safer sex or restrictions on their access to services (such as lack of information.sunstar. and perhaps most importantly. high costs. shame. young people have limited or no access to education and information on reproductive sexual health care.ph/baguio/feature/2012/06/28/more-teensbecoming-moms-229120> Loignon. Rebecca.1 No 2. They are twice as likely to die in childbirth as women in their 20s. limited contraceptive choices and supplies. negative or judgmental provider attitudes.

2012.org/malaysia/Teenage_Pregnancies__Overview. July 11.UNICEF. <http://www. 2008.pdf > NotSoInterestingJae . Sept 15.unicef. Young People and Family Planning: Teenage pregnancy.