UBD conducts study on teen pregnancy

National 2 minutes, 44 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A STUDY conducted in Brunei found parents to be supportive during their teen’s unplanned pregnancy journey, said a lecturer from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

Dr Khadizah Hj Mumin, a lecturer from UBD’s Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, said a study was recently conducted to find out the challenges of pregnant teenagers in the Brunei-Muara district, where parents were found to be supportive and involved during their pregnant teen’s maternity period.

“Although parents are initially shocked and develop anger of the news of (their child’s) pregnancy, they assumed supportive roles in view that the teenagers require support for coping and managing with the pregnancy, and later having to care for the newborn,” said Dr Khadizah.

The study saw 26 participants comprising six teenage mothers, seven women who got pregnant in their teen years, as well as 13 of their family members.

Prapaporn Langputeh, a PhD student taking up midwifery at UBD, conducted the study as part of her doctorate requirement.

According to Prapaporn, the teenage mothers were all Muslims of Malay ethnicity.

She added that families of the teen mothers all showed support throughout their pregnancy.

“I think it could be because of the Bruneian culture, they are close-knitted and showed great concern of the mother’s wellbeing,” she said.

Speaking on the sidelines of her presentation at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital yesterday, the PhD student said teenage pregnancy remains a global issue, noting that four per cent of Brunei’s birth rate is made up of teenage pregnancies.

“Statistics show at least 200 teenage pregnancies in Brunei every year,” she said, adding that while figures do not indicate an increase, unplanned teenage pregnancies still remains a social issue in Brunei.

A total of 3,405 teen pregnancies were reported from 2004 to 2013, according to figures from the maternal and health clinic.

The study also showed that out of the 13 teenage mothers, 77 per cent (ten people) dropped out of secondary school.

Prapaporn said teenage mothers in her study were within the age group of 16 -19 years, all living in an extended family household.

“We found that most of these mothers were from low-income family and lived with their extended family,” she said.

She added that 77 per cent or 10 out of 13 of the teen mothers were housewives or had part time jobs.

“Seven of them (teen mothers) are living with their family while six are living with their husband’s family,” she said in her presentation.

She told The Brunei Times that the youngest mother in her study to become pregnant was a 15-year-old girl.

Prapaporn said some of the challenges that teenage mothers and their families face during their unexpected pregnancy was to remain financially afloat and lack of maternal support, amongst others.

She said most teen mothers often experience guilt and feel reluctant to ask for extra help from their family, adding that some lack emotional support from their spouse as they are most of the time at work.

The study was conducted under Dr Khadizah’s supervision as well as two other senior education officers from UBD – Professor Dr Munikumar Venkatasalu and Dr Hjh Roselina DP Hj Yaakub.

Prapaporn added that there is a need for stronger social awareness on teenage pregnancy in Brunei.

The Brunei Times