Maternal Health-Seeking Behaviors of Young Women in the Philippines

by Mellanie C. Yubia, Master of Arts in Demography (2011)

This study describes and assesses the levels of maternal health-seeking behaviors of young Filipino women 15-24 years old as well as the factors influencing them and the extent to which they compare with that of their older counterparts (i.e. women 25-49 years old). This paper examines the variations in the care seeking behaviors of women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period using specific maternal health indicators.

Using data from the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (2008 NDHS), results reveal that in terms of the levels of maternal health-seeking behaviors, young women show significantly different behavior in only one indicator of antenatal care compared to their older counterparts. Particularly, a significantly lower proportion of young Filipino women have their first antenatal care check-up within the first trimester of their last pregnancy. In terms of delivery and postnatal care no significant variation is demonstrated.

Bivariate analyses show that maternal health-seeking behaviors of young women vary across selected background characteristics such as parity, household wealth status, education and type of place of residence. The same holds true for older women. Consistent with earlier studies, the proportion of women who have better maternal health-seeking behaviors decreases with increasing parity. Whereas, having a higher level of education, belonging to households of upper wealth status and urban residence are associated with better maternal health-seeking behaviors.

Multivariate analyses reveal that parity, household wealth status, and education significantly influence antenatal care seeking behaviors of young women, but place of residence did not have a significant effect. The same finding holds for their older counterparts. Antenatal care seeking behavior, and better antenatal and delivery care seeking behaviors redound to improvements in the postnatal care seeking behaviors of both young and older women.