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Teenage Pregnancy

Also called: Adolescent


Most teenage girls don't plan to get pregnant, but many do. Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to both the
mother and the baby. Often, teens don't get prenatal care soon enough, which can lead to problems later on. They
have a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and its complications. Risks for the baby
include premature birth and a low birth weight.
If you're a pregnant teen, you can help yourself and your baby by:

Getting regular prenatal care

Taking your prenatal vitamins for your health and to prevent some birth defects
Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs

Using a condom, if you are having sex, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that could hurt your


One in Ten Young Filipino Women Age 15 to 19 Is Already A Mother or

Pregnant With First Child (Final Results from the 2013 National
Demographic and Health Survey)
Reference Number:
Release Date:
Thursday, August 28, 2014

One in ten young Filipino women age 15-19 has begun childbearing: 8 percent are already mothers and
another 2 percent are pregnant with their first child according to the results of the 2013 National
Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). Among young adult women age 20 to 24, 43 percent are
already mothers and 4 percent are pregnant with their first child (Table 1).
Early pregnancy and motherhood varies by education, wealth quintile, and region. It is more common
among young adult women age 15 to 24 with less education than among those with higher education (44
percent for women with elementary education versus 21 percent for women with college education).
Early childbearing is also more common in Caraga (38 percent) and Cagayan Valley (37 percent) than
other regions. The proportion of young adult women who have begun childbearing is higher among those
classified as belonging to poor households than those in wealthier households (37 percent for young
women in the lowest wealth quintile versus 13 percent for women in the highest wealth quintile).
The survey also reveals that one in five (19 percent) young adult Filipino women age 18 to 24 years had
initiated their sexual activity before age 18. Some of them would have had their first intimate sexual act
before marriage. The survey reveals that 15 percent of young adult women age 20 to 24 had their first
marriage or began living with their first spouse or partner by age 18. This proportion is lower than the
proportion (19 percent) earlier cited regarding initiation by young women of an intimate sexual activity.

Age at first marriage hardly changed over the years. A slightly higher proportion (17 percent) of older
cohort of women (age group 40-49) had their first marriage at age 18 (Table 3).
Initiation of sexual activity before age 18 is more common among young adult women with less
education and those in poorer households. Over 40 percent of young adult women with some elementary
education, compared with only 7 percent of those with college education, reported having their first
intimate sexual act at age 18 (Table 2). Similarly, 36 percent of young adult women in the lowest wealth
quintile, compared with only 10 percent of those in the highest wealth quintile, had their first intimate
sexual act before age 18. Across regions, the proportion ranges from 11 percent in Cordillera
Administrative Region to 27 percent in Davao. The proportion of young adult women reporting first
intimate sexual act before age 18 is 22 percent for rural areas and 17 percent for urban areas. Among
young women age 15 to 24, 2 percent reported initiating their sexual activity before turning 15.
The 2013 NDHS is a nationally representative survey of almost 16,000 households and 19,000 women
age 15-49. The survey was conducted from August 12 to October 16, 2013. The 2013 NDHS is designed
to provide information on fertility, family planning, and health in the country. Other important findings of
the 2013 NDHS will be presented in a data dissemination forum on September 2, 2014 at Crowne Plaza
Manila Galleria, Ortigas Ave. cor. ADB Ave., Quezon City.
(Interim Deputy National Statistician) Officer-in-Charge)

Teenage pregnancy among todays Filipino youth

By: Carin Van der Hor

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The National Youth Commission, supported by the Department of Health and the World
Health Organization, convened the 2014 National Summit on Teen Pregnancy last April
24. This summit, which saw the active participation of adolescent youth, delivered a
clear message: Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), or the lack thereof, is
fast becoming the defining issue of this generation of young Filipinos. Without a robust
response from all stakeholders, the Philippines is on track toward a full-blown, national
teenage pregnancy crisis.
Staggering facts support this call for concern. Recent (2014) data from the Philippine
Statistical Authority (PSA) reveal that every hour, 24 babies are delivered by teenage
mothers. According to the 2014 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study, around
14 percent of Filipino girls aged 15 to 19 are either pregnant for the first time or are
already mothersmore than twice the rate recorded in 2002. Among six major

economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Philippines has the highest
rate of teenage pregnancies and is the only country where the rate is increasing, per
the United Nations Population Fund.
According to Josefina Natividad, YAFS coordinator and director of the University of the
Philippines Population Institute, young Filipinos have limited access to sex education and
ASRH services, especially if they are underage and unmarried. Seventy-eight percent
are not using any form of contraception or protection against sexually transmitted
diseases and infections when they are having sex for the first time. While government
programs aim to delay the beginning of childbearing and hasten fertility decline,
teenage pregnancies continue to increase. Perhaps it is really time for a new and more
collaborative strategy?
Data show that pregnant teenagers in the Philippines are mostly 17 to 19 years old.
They live with their mothers, parents, or relatives. The father of the child is, in most
cases, a teenage boy.
Reasons for becoming pregnant among teenagers include: unplanned sexual encounters
(getting caught up in the moment) and peer pressure; lack of information on safe sex;
breakdown of family life and lack of good female role models in the family; and absence
of accessible, adolescent-friendly clinics.
Teenagers from poor backgrounds are disproportionately represented among pregnant
teenagers. However, experts have argued that teenage pregnancy should be
understood as a symptom of dire economic conditions rather than a cause of it. Teenage
pregnancy perpetuates the cycle of poverty and inequality because most pregnant
teenagers have no source of income and face greater financial difficulties later in life.
This is because they drop out of school and are less likely to pursue further education or
skills training.
Teenage mothers face critical health risks, including: inadequate nutrition during
pregnancy due to poor eating habits; dangers associated with the reproductive organs
not ready for birth; and maternal death due to higher risk of eclampsia, among others.
Alarmingly, while maternal deaths are decreasing in the Philippines, teenage maternal
deaths are increasing. Ten percent of pregnant teenagers died in the last year,
according to the PSA. Data from the WHO also show a high and increasing incidence of
fetal death in Filipino mothers under 20.
At the end of the teenage pregnancy summit, the participants strongly endorsed a
comprehensive sexual education curriculum; forging a Batang Ina social movement;

and establishing adolescent-friendly spaces. The enactment of the Responsible

Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was also recognized as an important step to
make ASRH services more accessible to those in need.
As an international child rights organization, Plan International believes that the rights
and needs of adolescent girls and boys, including their right to access ASRH services,
must be ensured. In our work in the Philippines, ASRH continues to be a priority in line
with our global Because I am a Girl campaign and national Batang Lusog program.
We are implementing ASRH interventions in Southern Leyte and Eastern Samar, where
cases of teenage pregnancy are increasing. Youth-Friendly Spaces are being established
to provide peer education and counseling on ASRH and rights. This is complemented by
our response to eliminate gender-based violence in communities by establishing
Women-Friendly Spaces. These measures help prevent teenage pregnancy by
disseminating the right information about the risks and impacts of teenage pregnancy
on the teen mom and the infant. An exploratory study by Plan International on the rising
incidence of teenage pregnancy in Yolanda-affected areas is also being designed.
In the face of numerous challenges that Filipino adolescents face every day
discrimination, gender-based violence, harmful gender stereotypesthey must be
equipped with the life skills and assets to help them make the best decisions for
themselves and their community. When adolescents choose to have sex, they have a
right to access not just information but also inclusive ASRH services.
At the end of the day, when an adolescent, especially a girl, knows her rights, is
empowered to choose, and is heard, she can improve not only her life but also the life of
her immediate and future families. So, maybe its time to have this discussion with your
(grand) daughter or niece now?
Carin Van der Hor is the director of Plan International Philippines and is the mother of
two teenage girls.