Teenage pregnancy, a case study: ‘At 18, I found out I was pregnant’

By: Pia Piquero and Kim Ablaña - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter and CTU Intern | February 13,2024 - 12:00 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – “I was only 18 years old when I found out that I was pregnant,” Loiuse said as she began to recall what she considers one of the darkest hours of her life.

“I was confused and scared that time. My partner and I were not ready at all. We even planned [that we have it aborted] since we’re both studying,” she added.

Louise, a 21-year-old mom of three, was still a Grade 12 student when she got pregnant. It was unintentional, unwanted, and resulted from the unsafe pursuit of leisure she believed to be fine, addictive, and everlasting.

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“Dili jud mi ga-use og condoms kay naa koy PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). Abi namo okay ra dili mag use, unya mao to. Unya hubog sad mi ato na time kay Valentine’s Day to,” she said.

(We really didn’t use condoms because I have PCOS. We thought it was okay not to use so that was it. And we were drunk at that time because it was Valentine’s Day.)

Despite knowing that there could be a possibility of her getting pregnant, Louise became very complacent with the idea. She and her boyfriend, who was also a second-year college student, were very ‘active.’ She disregarded the possibility due to the youthful feeling of thrill and delight.

One morning, sometime in January, Louise felt different. She had unusual morning sickness and was frequently urinating. She thought it was normal at first, not until she found something strange already.

So she took a pregnancy test. It was positive.

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From that time on, Louise’s life was nothing short of challenging.

They had to keep it a secret from both of their families for months until she was confronted by her boyfriend’s mother. She tasted a heavy sense of dislike and disappointment from her own family, and faced judgment from society.

While teenage pregnancy may be a topic often whispered about in hushed tones, it’s a reality that demands our attention and compassion.

Take Louise’s story, for instance.

Let’s not gloss over the harsh truths. That the pervasive nature of this issue cannot be ignored, as it continues to cast a shadow over our younger generation, particularly to young women.

Teenage pregnancy in numbers

Data released by the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in 2022 shows that Central Visayas is the fourth-ranking region in the Philippines in terms of teenage pregnancy cases among individuals under 19 years of age.

The region recorded a total of 11,686 reported cases.

The top three regions with the highest number of teenage pregnancy cases are CALABARZON, leading with 19,018 cases, followed by Central Luzon with 17,107 cases, and the National Capital Region (NCR) with 12,540 cases.

teenage pregnancies

gfx: Christian Dave Cuizon

“Previously, as of 2021 we were number 5 in the ranking in the whole country. Pero karon nisaka nata, nahimo natang number 4. So medyo dili gyud ni siya ika proud kay number 5 ta previous unya nisaka pagyud sa number 4,” said Malou Alorro Garillos, the population commission officer III of CPD-7.

Lack of awareness

Garillos told CDN Digital that one significant contributor to teenage pregnancy is “the lack of awareness” among young adolescents regarding human sexuality.

However, Garillos added, “Although there are very few cases, naay mga cases pud nga gitawag nato ug harassment, rape. Naa sad ni siya’y in-ana pero kasagaran gyud, kaning dili kaayo aware, kanang dili ba mag matngon.”

(Although there are very few cases, there are still cases wherein harassment and rape are involved. But most of the time, it’s really due to lack of awareness. Those who are not being careful.)

Garillos explained that the absence of awareness about human sexuality among young adolescents leads to a lack of knowledge regarding safe practices and contraceptive options.

“That’s why we have program for their education and awareness with the Comprehensive Sexuality Education ug Adolscent and Reproductive Health,” she said.

Breakdown of teenage pregnancies in Central Visayas

As of 2022, the reported cases in the region are as follows: Cebu with 5,016 cases, Cebu City with 1,504 cases, Mandaue City with 475 cases, Lapu-Lapu City with 586 cases, Negros Oriental with 2,364 cases, Bohol with 1,625 cases, and Siquijor with 116 cases.

teenage pregancies

gfx: Christian Dave Cuizon

Notably, in Cebu alone, the highest number of cases falls within the age bracket of under 15 years old, with pregnancies reported as early as 10 years old.

“Syempre daghan pagyud ang kiniang 15-19 years old. Pero, we also see some trends nga kining 15-19 yrs old [category] nag hinay-hinay ni siyag kagamay-gamay nya nam-anam kataas ang under 15 yrs old, e.g. as young as 10 yrs old,” Garillos said.

(Of course there are a lot in the 15-19 years old age bracket. But we also see some trend that this 15-19 years old category is slowly getting smaller but what’s getting higher is the under 15 years old as young as 10 years old.)

The reported cases among individuals under 15 years old have now reached 106, surpassing the number of cases among those aged 15 to 19, which stands at 48.

“So ang CPD has created or established already programs for adolescents as early as 2013, so called Adolescents Health and Development Program (AHDP),” she said.

In 2013, CPD began establishing “teen centers” in local government units in coordination with our “peer educators.” These peer educators are individuals who engage in conversations with young people because often they are hesitant to talk to their parents.


Meanwhile, Garillos noted that one significant challenge lies in the reluctance of LGUs to allocate resources towards Adolescent Youth Development.

Additionally, the Sangguniang Kabataan may pose a challenge despite having resources, as they sometimes fail to prioritize these programs.

“Kay up to now ilahang priority programs kay kani gihapong mga beauty pageant, athletic games, waiting shed. There’s nothing wrong [with this], okay rani siya kaayo pero unta to duna sad tay pag prioritize sa concerns for the adolescents like this one,” she said.

(Because up to now, their priority programs are these beauty pageants, athletic games, waiting shed. There’s nothing wrong [with this], it’s okay but hopefully they prioritize  concerns for the adolescents like this one.)

However, despite the acknowledged challenges, Garillos assured that the CPD has been making concerted efforts to address the issue. They are also implementing programs such as Parenteen Talks, aimed at facilitating open communication between adolescents and their parents regarding sexuality.

This initiative seeks to bridge the gap between young people and their parents, as the lack of communication with parents is identified as one of the barriers.


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TAGS: family, statistics

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