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Category Archives: Teenage Pregnancy

My Friend’s Thought: One Reason Why We Need RH Bill

friend of mine (he was the mayor of his year level when I was the governor of our college back then), arrived after doing some missionary works down south of the Philippines. I could see the disappointment and frustration in his face as he related what he found out.

He came to know of a girl, she is 14 years old. Pregnant… for her 3rd child. Yes, you read that right. Pregnant for her 3rd baby at age 14. My friend thinks, it seems that in that tribe, as long as the girls reaches menarche (first menstruation), they are being taken wives by older men.

He also talked to a leader of the tribe (they’re called datu). He has vast land, around 20 hectares. He rents it out to a multinational company. The company pays him 1,000 pesos per hectare, so that would sum to 20,000 pesos… Per month? NOOOOOO… Per YEAR, yes, per year!!! In addition, my friend told me the datu has about 10 wives. And each wife has lots of kids. So it makes my friend think, how can a 20,000 sustain that big family? How cannot he be impoverished when aside from the big family he has, he is being taken advantaged of by this big multinational company?

What took me was my friend saying, this scenario should really be seen by those men in congress, especially those who oppose the passage of the reproductive health bill. They are so impossible to contend with. There is really a need for it to be enacted.

When he departed, I thanked him, for understanding how life goes on among our poor fellows, for sharing the passion about how reproductive health program will help our poor women, save lives/reduce deaths, and in the long run, help alleviate their conditions.

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Betraying Your Mother’s Trust – Early Pregnancies

Betraying Your Mother’s Trust – Early Pregnancies

It makes me wonder… how do mothers feel when they bring their daughter to the emergency room due to intense abdominal pain, anticipating that they might be confined and operated on, and then suddenly,  slapped with the findings that their daughter is due to deliver a baby at that very moment?

Shocked? Horrified? Happy? Betrayed?

This is the story of three mothers…

MOTHER ONE

She owns an apartment for rent at the metropolis but she is based at the province. She has a daughter studying also at the metropolis and was supposed to be in her 3rd year of nursing school. By the first semester however, she didn’t enroll, but kept on receiving allowance as if she were still studying. She was pregnant and never told her family about it out of fear.

One time, the mother came over to visit her and see the tenants of the apartment they are renting out. Her daughter complained of severe abdominal pain. She thought her daughter has acute appendicitis needing emergency medical attention. She rushed her daughter to the emergency room at the Surgery section. She was attended to immediately but she wondered why an OB-Gyne resident was being called. The OB-Gyne resident did her examination and told the mother, your daughter is 28-weeks pregnant, is fully dilated and needs to be wheeled to the delivery room as baby could come out in a few minutes. No prenatal check-ups done whatsoever.

MOTHER TWO

She also is based in the province and sent her daughter to a university to study. The daughter is already on her 4th year of schooling. She got pregnant by her boyfriend who is her batch mate. She never told her parents about it, didn’t go home during summer breaks and took up summer classes instead. Even before enrollment for the first semester, she didn’t go home. (Maybe her parents thought she is diligent and is eager to finish her studies on time as she was already about to be in her 4th year).

The daughter at least saw an obstetrician few days before, but still didn’t inform her parents of her condition. Then she came because she had preterm labor. She gave birth to a preterm baby who encountered all the problems a preterm would. Then the innocent mother at the province was called up, informed for the very first time that the daughter was pregnant, in the wee hours of the morning, being summoned to bring money for the hospital expenses.

MOTHER THREE

An emergency call in the wee hours of the morning woke me up telling me of a walk-in admission for pediatric care. The mother is 20 years old, first time pregnant, came if due to second stage of labor, fully dilated and is about to deliver that hour. I was also informed that the expectant mother is a student, and never had prenatal check-ups for this pregnancy.

I drove to the hospital to attend the baby’s delivery. While doing the latching on and awaiting the baby to suckle, I was asking the mother who was half-sedated. She said she never informed her family about her condition out of fear again. The school where she studies also does not know of her condition. She was supposed to have a quiz later in the day but we told her she can’t go to school yet. The OB told her that anyway she will be given a medical certificate. Then she panicked, what will be written in the certificate? I told her, the truth. Then she said the school has no knowledge of her pregnancy. So we told her, we will talk to her later when she becomes fully awake. She never had prenatal check-up thus her baby ended term, but very small for her age.

As for her mother, she went home, to get some things both for the mother and the newly born baby. They came unprepared for this unexpected delivery.

Which brings me back to the question… how do these mother react to this news of their daughter, having known of their daughter’s pregnancy the very first time, at that very moment? Do they feel embarrassed that they never knew of it, and they have known it in a very painful manner, in front of the medical personnel? Do they feel that the medical professionals think they are negligent because how could not they find out their daughter’s condition when pregnancy is something hard to be hidden? Do they fear what their neighbors would say that instead of a college diploma, their daughters brought home a baby instead? Do they feel crashed that their dreams for their daughters may no longer come true as their daughter has to start a family of her own already? If they get angry, they should be understood. Their trust was betrayed.

These teenage moms? While they seem to be at fault, the best approach for them now is to accept their situation, avoid telling things that will aggravate their guilt feelings and help them start their new life. But this should not be tolerated. Parents should now let their daughters stand on their own. They could help but should not be the sole provider all over again. They may supervise but should not dictate how their daughters should run their lives. Parents should remember that they can only do so much, but not to the extent of tolerating everything.

(PHOTO COURTESY OF: http://philippinephotography.blogspot.com/2008/05/batang-ina-photo-documentary-on-teenage.html)

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Pregnancy, Teenage Pregnancy

 

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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

The Filipino Adolescents 2012.

 

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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

(Photo courtesy of http://reynthology.blogspot.com/2012/06/pinoy-teen-smokers-on-rise.html)

A woman recently gained attention after she performed cesarean section on her OWN SELF, delivering her own baby. As of this time we don’t know what drove her to do this. Did she use anesthesia, what kind and how, to avoid pain; or did she do it without any anesthetics at all? What drove her to do this when the baby is term and she could just have waited to labour? She sew herself with a regular needle and thread.

I remember another case of abortion that I came across with, though not as violent as that top story. She was in her early 20s, student. She was impregnated by her boyfriend; they’re unmarried. She looked frail, like someone who’s so meek enough to who raise her point when they’d argue. She seemed like she’ll say yes to everything.

At about 28 weeks, her boyfriend told her to take they need to do something about the pregnancy. They bought some abortifacient from the witches selling “pamparegla” (menstruation regulating substance/concoctions) outside Quiapo Church. (Yes, that iconic church that seems not to do anything about those witches around her, and allowing them to bastardize her with their merchandize, even on a Sunday). She took in 5 tablets of the drug, and inserted another 10 tablets into her vagina. Presto, preterm labor instantly.

She delivered to a 28 weeks preterm baby boy, who eventually needed mechanical ventilator to breath. They cannot afford surfactant so it was not given to the baby.

I talked to the mother of the baby as well as her mother about the incident.

First, I asked her why she committed that act. She blankly said, her boyfriend told her to do it.

Second, I asked her if she knew that taking the drug and inserting them as well to her vagina will cause labor pains, she just said “no.”

Then I told her, “are you aware that what you did is a form of killing?” She just said “no.”

My next question was “do you know that what you did is a crime?” Again, blankly, she said “no.”

Lastly, I told her, “did you know that I can call a police right now and have you arrested for what you did to your baby?” That was the only time she seemed to have realized the gravity of her crime, and so was her mother, and they broke down.

It is overwhelming and alarming that young people nowadays are not abreast with the different things they are doing. Only after the crime as been consummated will they come to realize that such an act was criminal.  What have you there… bullying classmates until the victim falls in a manhole and die, joking about holding/pointing a gun to a playmate and then accidentally shoot and kill him, daredevil stunts with a bike or skateboard just because they saw it was cool on youtube videos and then they get the worse fracture an orthopedics would almost object attending to, and many more.

Adolescence is a time of big confusion during a person’s life; they’re no longer kids, but they’re not yet adults. Hormones are raging making them ambivalent or confused, seeking identity or roles to portray, explore their sexuality, among other else. Peer influence is strong enough thus the high probability to form gangs during this age.

Parents have the biggest responsibility to guide their children until they can become totally independent and live on their own. It’s not the teachers at school, nor the religious at church. But how could the parents attend to all of their children’s needs when there are too many of them? Guidance and proper education can also fill in the void these adolescents quest.

A very matter of fact education that these teens need these days is age-appropriate sex education. This does not teach students to foreplay and have orgasm. Rather, sexuality education that will teach them about their body parts, how it functions, how pregnancy occurs, what are the sequela of being pregnant, responsible parenthood, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), etc. With the advent of information technology, a person can easily access these information, but without guidance, they will not understand it clearly. Still guidance is what these young people need so as to avoid unwanted “excursions.”

A study done has already shown that sexuality education has significantly delayed the first sexual intercourse among teenagers, lesser incidence of STIs, lesser incidence of early pregnancy and increased use of contraceptives.

Another sad facts that have plagued the young people recently are: (1) Philippines has been ranked no. 1 having the most number of teenage pregnancies in Asia, (2) increasing incidence since 1984 of HIV/AIDS among the 15-24 age bracket (2282/9669 or 23.6% cummulative incidence as of May 2012, http://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/NEC_HIV_May-AIDSreg2012.pdf), and (3) the very high incidence of smoking among the Filipino teenagers. These must have caught the attention of those in the palace.

Will you just be startled there?

 

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Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies

Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies.

 

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Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies

(These are curated tweets by WHO during the World Health Assembly 65 at Geneva Switzerland, dated May 25, 2012)

  • In 2008, mothers aged 15-19 years gave birth to 16m babies, representing 11% of all births worldwide.
  • About 95% of births in 2008 by mothers aged 15-19 years occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Progresss has been made: worldwide, the adolescent birth rate has declined from 60 per 1000 in 1990 to 48 per 1000 in 2007.
  • Discrepancy between regions in adolescent birth rates is wide, eg 5 per 1000 women in eastern Asia to 121 per 1000 in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • What contributes to adolescent pregnancy? Most people initiate sexual activity between 15 and 19 years of age.
  • In poorer countries, sexual activity for girls is often initiated in marriage, or due to coercion, frequently with older men.
  • Rates of use of contraception by adolescents are often low, hence adolescent girls may become pregnant.
  • Early marriage also contributes to adolescent pregnancy. Worldwide, 60m+ women aged 20-24 years were married before age 18.
  • Gender norms can also contribute to adolescent pregnancy; eg social norms that condone violence against women, girls put them at risk
  • Not knowing much about sex, family planning contributes to early pregnancy. Effective sexuality education is lacking in many countries.
  • Education in general is important: the more years of schooling, the fewer early pregnancies.
  • All couples should have access to safe, effective, affordable, acceptable methods of family planning.
  • Women have the right to access appropriate health-care services that enable them to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Many countries have laws that prohibit adolescents from accessing sexual and reproductive health services without parental, spousal consent.
  • What are the consequences of early pregnancy? A first pregnancy at an early age is risky. It can lead to disease and death.
  • Early, unwanted pregnancies can lead to induced abortion which can lead to severe health risks, death when carried out in unsafe conditions.
  • Up to 65% of women with obstetric fistula develped this during adolescence, with dire consequences for their lives.
  • Adolescent pregnancy is dangerous for the child. The younger the mother, the higher the risk of stillbirth and death of the infant.
  • Social consequences of adolescent pregnancy can be severe: school drop out, lack of subsequent income, violence against unmarried girls…
  • How can too-early pregnancies be prevented in developing countries? WHO has issued 6 recommendations.
  • 1) Reducing marriage prior to age 18; 2) Reducing pregnancy before the age of 20 years.
  • 3) Increase the use of contraception by adolescents at risk of unwanted pregnancy
  • 4) Reducing coerced sex among adolescents
  • 5) Reducing unsafe abortion among adolescents to prevent too-early pregnancies.
  • 6) Increasing the use of skilled antenatal, childbirth, postnatal care among adolescents to prevent too-early pregnancies.

For complete copy on the report of the WHO Secretariat on Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies, please feel free to read this article http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA65/A65_13-en.pdf

 

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While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues)

While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues).

 

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