The City Population and Nutrition Office (CPNO) of the LGU Naga has warned the public against adolescent pregnancy which exposes female teenagers to various health risks.
Shiryl Ann Climacosa Malate, CPNO population program officer, said teenage pregnancy happens when a woman below 20 years old gets pregnant. It usually refers to teens between the ages of 15-19.
Malate did not discount the possibility of having a case of premature birth among those babies delivered by adolescent mothers whose pregnancy occurs with sexual intercourse after the start of ovulation, which can be before the first menstrual period but usually occurs after the onset of periods.
“Teens often don’t get prenatal care soon enough, one of the many reasons pregnant teens and their babies are at higher risk of health problems than older pregnant women. Teens younger than age 15 are especially vulnerable to anemia, or low blood iron, and pregnancy-related high blood pressure,” she said.
Records at the Naga City Civil Registry Office show that in 2021 it has listed at least 268 teenage mothers. 113 more were recorded in January-June 2022 period.
Teenage pregnancy cases can be traced to the following factors:
- Lack of parental guidance
- Inadequate knowledge about safe sex
- Exploitation by older men
- Socio economic factors
- Glamorization of pregnancy
One of the interventions that the CPNO has been undertaking is the demand generation activities which is aimed to lessen the case of early pregnancy, if not to totally stop, by organizing and visiting the youth in the barangays and provide them the necessary assistance they need.
Also, the Naga City Teen Center which provides direct interventions toward the prevention of risky sexual and non-sexual behaviors among young people, provides an opportunity for them to talk about various issues and concerns affecting them. Young people can also receive counselling and develop skills necessary in managing their lives responsibly.
According to the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), the Philippines has recorded a 7% increase in births among girls aged 15 and below in 2019. Filipino minors who gave birth in 2019 increased to 62,510 from 62,341 in 2018.
In 2019, 2,411 very young adolescents aged 10 to 14 gave birth, or almost seven every day. Early childbearing may result in poor health outcomes and may be a threat to the country’s economic growth. Pregnant adolescents are less likely to complete higher education and have lesser ability to earn more income.
(Jason B. Neola, CEPPIO. Photo by Rey Baylon, CEPPIO.)