Teenage pregnancy in the Philippines: Tips for pregnant teens and parents

Pregnant teens and their parents can benefit from this informative read.

In August 2014, the National Statistics Office (NSO) of the Philippines released the final results of the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey. It showed us a troubling look at teenage pregnancy in the Philippines.

The survey shows that 1 in 10 Filipino women between the ages of 15 and 19 is already a mother or is pregnant with her first child.

Teenage pregnancy in the Philippines on the rise?

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 and some 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year — 95% of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The Philippines is classified by the World Bank as having a lower-middle-income economy, thus the WHO survey extends to our country, and is reflective of what we see happening here.

This alarming rise in teenage pregnancy in the Philippines may be attributed to economic and educational factors.

The NSO survey results state that early initiation of sexual activity and early pregnancy is often seen among women belonging to lower income households. It is also more common among those with little or no formal education.

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

A young mom in the province with her two children

Others may also claim that societal factors and the media may also play a role in the rise of teenage pregnancies. Journalist Teddy Locsin Jr., in a 2014 editorial on ANC, even blamed the rise of teenage pregnancy on showbiz.

He cites the prominence of sexual themes in television and movies, day in and day out, and states this as the reason why the desire for physical contact is ingrained into the minds of the youth.

While we can speculate on the true reasons behind it, the reality is that teenage pregnancy in the Philippines is becoming far too common. Not only this, but the teenage moms are getting younger as well.

Girls even as young as grade 5 students are giving birth — as in the case of the 12-year-old girl who gave birth in Kalibo, Aklan in November 2014.

One young mom tells us about what she went through as a pregnant teen. Click next to read her story!

Teenage pregnancy in the Philippines: A real mom’s story!

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Discovering that you are pregnant as a teen is a huge deal.

The thing is, any girl, regardless of socioeconomic status, can become a teen mom.

Marie (not her real name) was a 17-year old college student when she discovered she was pregnant. It was her fellow cheerleaders who noticed her growing belly, which Marie quickly blamed on her increased appetite.

It was normal for her to skip a period due to her irregular cycle, so her missed periods were no cause for alarm. She had no clue that she could possibly be pregnant.

Her teammates convinced her to take a pregnancy test, which she did 6 times, each with a positive result. Still, she would not believe that she was with child.

When she at last visited an OB-GYN, still at the insistence of her friends, Marie was told that she was already 3 months pregnant. At that moment, she accepted the news as true.

The father of her child was not her boyfriend, yet she chose to inform him that she was expecting. Sadly, she received a less than favorable response from him. So, Marie decided to block her baby’s daddy from their lives and raise the child on her own.

Condemning her won’t help matters

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Pregnancy can come as a huge shock to a young teen.

Her parents were not happy with the news of Marie’s pregnancy, and to this day she still feels regarded as the black sheep of the family. Fortunately, her godmother, an OB-GYN, helped Marie through her pregnancy and delivery.

Marie works hard to provide for her daughter. She started her own business selling handcrafted items. Her daughter, now 7 years old, helps her out in making the accessories and trinkets that they sell.

The bond between mom and daughter is undeniably tight. They appreciate each other and shower each other with love and gratitude. Marie’s story shows that even the stickiest of situations can have a silver lining.

Read tips for what pregnant teens can do to help themselves on the next page!

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Telling your parents is the first step to helping yourself as a teenage mom.

Teenage pregnancy in the Philippines: Tips for pregnant teens

Is your child or a teen that you know pregnant and unsure of what to do? Here are pieces of advice that you, as a parent, can share with her to help her cope:

1. Tell your parents or an adult that you trust.

While it may be scary, pregnant teens need to tell their parents or an adult they trust that they are pregnant. The sooner they are able to confide in someone, the better.

By having an adult to turn to for sound advice, young moms can make better decisions for the baby’s future. They are also more likely to get help with the medical care that both mother and baby need.

Encourage the pregnant teen to approach their trusted adviser sincerely and openly. She should be straightforward, but also prepared for possible shocked or angry reactions.

Remind the young mom that while she is looking for support and understanding, she should also hold her ground, and not be pressured into doing something that she does not want to do.

2. See a doctor.

The expectant teen needs to get checked by a doctor as soon as possible for proper prenatal care. She should be prescribed with necessary vitamins for a healthy pregnancy, and may be advised to get tested for STD’s if needed.

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

The father of the baby has the right to know that the teen is expecting.

3. Talk to the baby’s father.

The father of the pregnant teen’s baby has the right to know that there is a baby on the way. He may or may not take the news well. Still, encourage the mother to do her part by informing him of the situation.

4. Just hold on.

A pregnant teen should definitely not give up on herself and her child. Instead, she should empower herself.

Tell her to just hold on, and remember that she is now responsible for another human being. She should focus on being a strong mom, and draw inspiration from her child.

5. Find a support system.

Whether it is a counselor, a fellow expectant woman, her parents , or someone else whom she can count on, an expectant teen should find someone to share her feelings and thoughts with, and help her cope with the changes happening in her life.

What should parents do when dealing with teenage pregnancy in the Philippines? Find out on the next page!

 Our role as parents

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Now is the time when your pregnant teen needs you the most.

Remember that it is in your teen’s best interest to show support and offer help. Here are things that parents can do when faced with teenage pregnancy in the Philippines:

1. Accompany your child to the hospital.

Be involved in your teen’s pregnancy. Go with her for checkups, and keep yourself informed on her status and progress.

2. Control your emotions.

You may be feeling anything from shock, disappointment, guilt or anger, and this is natural. Do your best to control what you feel to make it easier for you to communicate with your child.

You should also try to find someone you can talk to about your situation. It could be a fellow parent or someone who has been through the same thing with their children.

Being able to share your thoughts and listen to someone’s advice on the situation can help you cope with your own emotions. You may also gain valuable insights on how to best show support to your daughter.

3. Help out financially.

One of the things that your teen is sure to need is financial support, not just during her pregnancy but also after the baby is born. If you are capable of doing so, help out in this aspect.

You could also assist your daughter in finding the best, most reasonably priced maternity package available. Savings and practical deals also count as extended financial support.

4. Prepare for the baby.

There are countless things to be done in preparation for the baby’s arrival. You have been through this yourself. This is the best time to put your parenting experience and wisdom to good use.

Preparing for the baby also means helping your child reach out to the parents of her baby’s father. Arrangements for the baby need to be agreed upon by both families.

The two teens don’t necessarily have to get married. But issues like who will shoulder expenses and how much involvement each family should have with the baby should be discussed.

5. Be supportive.

Your teen needs to feel that she can count on you for support. Provide her with a warm, nurturing environment where she feels safe. This way, she will feel comfortable enough to open up and reach out to you for help.

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Teenage moms must remember that there is always someone they can turn to for help and support.

Go to the next page for a list of organizations and agencies who can help and support expectant teens.

teenage pregnancy in the Philippines

Agencies that can help

For information and help for teenage pregnancy in the Philippines, you may reach out to the following agencies:

MLAC – Psychological Services for Well-Being

#2 Kaunlaran St., Kawilihan Village,
Bagong Ilog, Pasig City
Mobile Number: 0917-5019583
Email: [email protected]

Pregnancy Support Services of Asia

St. John Bosco Parish Building (2nd Floor),
Arnaiz Ave. Cor. Amorsolo St., Makati City
Tel: (02) 586-3069 & (02) 403-7179
Mobile Number: 0917-5019583

Likhaan Center for Women’s Health Inc.

27 Ofelia St., Ofelia Subdivision
Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City
Tel: (02) 926-6230 & (02) 454-3854
Fax: (02) 926-6230
Email: [email protected]

Family Planning Organization of the Philippines

50 Doña Hemady St.
New Manila, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 722-6466
Telefax: (02) 721-7101
Email: [email protected]

Population Services Pilipinas, Inc.

2015 Gil Puyat Street
Pasay City
Phone: (02) 831-2876
Fax: (02) 804-0798
Email: [email protected]

Society for Adolescent Medicine of the Philippines, Inc. (SAMPI)

Room 12 Philippine Children’s Medical Center
Mobile Number: 0947-8444218
Email: [email protected]
https://www.facebook.com/samphilippines

Community and Family Services International

2/F Torres Building
2442 Park Avenue, Pasay City
Telephones: (02) 556-2735 / (02) 551-1977 / (02) 556-4864
Email: [email protected]

Friendly Care Clinic

FriendlyCare Clinic and Headquarters
710 Shaw Boulevard
Mandaluyong City
Tel. Nos.: (02) 722-2986/88
718-2870 / 718-1344

FriendlyCare Clinic Cebu
G/F GMC Plaza Bldg.
Legaspi Extension, Cebu City
Tel. no. (032) 254-7446
Telefax no. (032) 253-4170

FriendlyCare Clinic Davao
G/F SPCRD Bldg.
A. Pichon St., Cor. Illustre Extension, Davao City
Telefax no. (082) 222-7970

View a complete list of branches here

 

You can also read: Teen pregnancy: Risks and dangers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia de Castro-Cuyugan

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