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Teenage pregnancy on the rise in the Philippines

The percentage of young girls aged 15-19 who have begun childbearing had more than doubled within the past decade. This finding came from the fourth and latest round of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS 4) Survey released today by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation.

In 2002, the last YAFS survey (YAFS 3) found that 6.3 percent of girls 15-19 years old were either pregnant for the first time or were already mothers. The latest survey done in 2013 shows that this percentage has climbed to 13.6 percent; 1 in 10 girls aged 15-19 was already a mother while 2.6 percent were pregnant with their first child when they were interviewed in 2013. Among girls aged 15 when interviewed in 2013, almost two percent had begun childbearing. This proportion increases as age increases such that among those who were aged 19 when interviewed in 2013, 1 in 3 had already begun childbearing.

“This result does not come as a surprise, especially if we link this with what we found regarding sexual behavior of young Filipinos today”, said Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, the main author of the paper on adolescent sexual behavior.

Results from YAFS 4 show increasing proportion of young Filipinos have engaged in premarital sex, and majority of them reported that their first sexual experience was unprotected from the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Whether these early pregnancies are the direct outcome of early and unprotected sex is a subject for further study of the YAFS 4 data.