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Rise in teen pregnancy cases noted in Naga

By Jason B. Neola

Alarmed by the spike in cases of pre-teen and adolescent pregnancy, the Naga City Population and Nutrition Office (NCPNO) has urged parents to “constantly keep an eye on their children and establish an atmosphere of open communication among family members”.

“Keeping everyone’s communication line open in the family would help teens to become aware of the facts about preventing an unplanned pregnancy,” Joy F. Macaraig, NCPNO population program officer said in an interview last week.

She said the family that encourages open discussion about good values would help reduce the risk factors that make some teens more likely to become pregnant.

“If parents make it clear that they disapprove of sex during high school, it is possible that their child might be less likely to become sexually active,” Macaraig said.

The NCPNO said that aside from the upward trend in adolescent pregnancy, it was also noticed in the civil registry data the escalating cases of repeat pregnancy among teen moms, a situation wherein a young mother who is within the age bracket of 13 to 19 years old has given birth to more than one child.

What is more appalling, however, are the rising cases of pre-teen pregnancy, which involve children below 13 years old. “Although the number [of pre-teen pregnancy cases] is not rapidly increasing, yet it is happening. There are eight and nine years old children who got pregnant,” Macaraig said, quoting a report from a national broadsheet.

In 2018, the city’s Civil Registry Office registered 328 cases of teen pregnancy and 42 repeat pregnancies while in 2019, the same data showed 368 teen pregnancies and 52 repeat pregnancies.

Macaraig said the figures do not represent the real story since there are cases especially in the hinterlands which are not reported nor recorded in the registry.

“Another thing are those cases of which the babies were recorded in the registry not as children of their real mothers but of their lolas.

“Given those situations, we can say that the figures in our hands are not enough and could still go up,” she said.

A research site that offers a realistic and friendly approach to pregnancy and parenting had identified three main risk factors that make some teens more likely to become pregnant.

Individual risk factors include: being a victim of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol use, having sex at a young age, lack of goals for the future, lack of knowledge about sex and contraception, low self-esteem, and poor school performance.

Some social risk factors for teen pregnancy include: dating at an early age, dating older people, friends who are sexually active, poor peer relationships, and pressure from peers to have sex.

Family risk factors that can increase a teen’s risk of pregnancy include: family history of teenage pregnancies, limited communication between parents and teen, negative family interactions, poor parental supervision, significant unresolved conflict between family members, and single-parent families.

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