According to the Guttmacher Institute and the Philippines Statistics Authority, women in the Philippines would prefer to have smaller families than they are currently having. Women of middle class prefer up to one less child and those in poverty two fewer. Yet many women and men in the Philippines are either not using any methods of family planning or are using traditional family planning methods, which have a lower rate of pregnancy prevention. Increased usage of a variety of methods of family planning would offer benefits to Philippine women, their families and the country as a whole.
Increasing Health Benefits
According to the World Health Organization, by planning the spacing or number of children she has, a woman can decrease the risk to both her and her infant of dying during childbirth or soon thereafter. Because older women and teenagers face increased risk with pregnancy, as do their offspring, pregnancy prevention during those years is also important. For example, teenagers are more likely to have babies born early or with low birth weight, and infants born to teens have higher neonatal mortality rates. Family planning can help reduce the risk of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies among those living with HIV. Male or female condoms help protect against HIV.
Creating Economic Benefits
Studies throughout the world have consistently shown that family planning is “among the most cost-effective of all health services,” according to the Population Reference Bureau. With fewer high-risk and unwanted pregnancies, countries face lower costs associated with preterm or sick infants and maternal complications or deaths. Women and families also benefit. Having fewer children allows parents to invest more in each child. With fewer children, a woman may be able to join or stay in the workforce longer, thus enabling her to contribute more to her family’s income.
Enhanced Educational Opportunities
By planning pregnancies, women in the Philippines will have greater opportunities for advancing their education and using their degrees to benefit themselves, their families and their communities. According to the World Health Organization, children with fewer siblings tend to stay in school longer than those with many siblings.
Slowing Population Growth
The population of the Philippines is 12th among countries worldwide, seventh in Asia and second in Southeast Asia, and it is growing at an annual rate of 1.9 percent, according to the Philippine Commission on Women. By using family planning methods, negative impacts of this growth can be diminished, including those on the environment and the increase in poverty and hunger. Family planning can also help with local, regional and national development efforts.