Zonta Club of Cebu II talks about the perils of teenage pregnancy

On 4 December, the Zonta Club of Cebu II, Philippines, organized The Perils of Teenage Pregnancy webinar. This sensitive and vital issue was presented from both a gynecologist's and a psychiatrist's perspective. 

Almost 500 participants listened to the presentations of Dr. Renna De Leon, a Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecologist and Dr. Pureza Oñate, a well-known Child and Teen Psychiatrist. 

"Teenage Pregnancy is a global problem that knows no boundaries. It is one of the most pressing issues that the Filipino youth face today and is considered a national emergency," declared Dr. De Leon in her opening statement. 

Recent statistics show that at least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls 15-19 years old, and the Philippines has the second-highest rate in Southeast Asia. As the global adolescent population grows, reducing early childbearing is crucial to achieving the country's goal related to poverty, health, nutrition, equity and education. 

Dr. de Leon left a powerful message for the audience as she ended her talk, "The key to success really in working with teen patients is to educate them, empower them, as well as respect them." 

Dr. Oñate discussed the aggravating circumstances that lead to adolescent pregnancies. She expounded on the mental and emotional issues that teen mothers encounter, such as increased postpartum depression, difficulty initiating breastfeeding, inadequate caregivers and more likely to abuse children. 

Unfortunately, the number of adolescent mothers is expected to rise considerably due to the limitations imposed by COVID-19, with many young girls living in chaotic and low-income communities.