Nearly 2M Filipino women to get pregnant this year due to COVID-19 lockdowns – POPCOM

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 26) - An estimated two million Filipino women, ages 15 to 49 years old, are expected to get pregnant this year as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns, said the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).

Many of them are expected to give birth nine months after the imposed community quarantines, the commission also said.

POPCOM cited a study of the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund, which also stated that 10 percent of these pregnancies will be among women ages 20 years old and below.

About 214,000 of the pregnancies are unplanned which will push the number of births in the country to almost 1.9 million in 2021, the commission said.

“Looking at these numbers, we foresee that because of the restrictions of movement as well as the reduction of access of women and men to family planning supplies, there will be at least one pregnancy for every three women with an unmet need for family planning,” said POPCOM executive director Juan Antonio Perez III.

He added, “Those are just some of the adverse impacts of the community quarantine to the welfare of our families, which further aggravates the situation of the ongoing health crisis.”

Moreover, the study showed that lockdowns will also lead to 178,000 pregnancies amomg teenagers, who have no access to family planning supplies.

On the other hand, the contraceptive prevalence rate -- the rate of women who use modern contraception methods -- is expected to decline by 2.2 percent. This means over 400,000 women will drop out of the country’s family planning program.

“While the numbers are staggering, this should sound the alarm for everyone that as the pandemic rages on, family planning should still be top-of-mind for everyone,” said Perez.