Teenage pregnancies in England and Wales are at the lowest point since records began

 

Social Affairs Correspondent

Teenage pregnancies in England and Wales are at an all-time low, official figures show. The rate of conceptions amongst under-18s dropped almost 10 per cent in England to 2.7 per 100 teenagers in 2012, the Office for National Statistics said.

The picture is similar in Wales, where just over three per cent of 15-17 year-old girls became pregnant in 2012. The same rate was recorded in Scotland in 2011, where teenage conceptions have also been declining, though their latest figures are not expected until the summer.

The falling numbers follow concerted public health efforts to reduce Britain’s notoriously high rates of teenage conception. It means that in England and Wales the teenage pregnancy rate is at its lowest since records began in 1969.

Public health experts warn, however, that Britain has yet to come in line with the rest of Western Europe. Alison Hadley, an expert in teenage pregnancy at the University of Bedfordshire and adviser to PHE on the issue, said: “Continued investment and dedication over the last ten years has paid real dividends but the England under 18 conception rate remains higher than other Western European countries.

“We need to find ways to both sustain the significant reductions we've made and accelerate progress. Evidence and lessons from local areas show us young people need comprehensive sex and relationship education in and out of school, easy access to young people-centred contraceptive and sexual health services, and targeted support for those most at risk.

“Progress needs to be everybody's business with strong local leadership and all practitioners and services in touch with young people supporting them to make informed choices.”

Middlesborough had the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, with more than five women in every hundred conceiving children. Mole Valley in Surrey had the lowest rate, with fewer than 0.9 per cent of girls aged 15-17 conceiving.

Professor Kevin Fenton, health and wellbeing director at Public Health England, said: “Today’s data show us high conception rates are not inevitable, if young people receive the right support. Teenage pregnancy and early motherhood can be associated with poor educational achievement, poor physical and mental health, social isolation and poverty, so it is vital this downward trend is continued.

“PHE is committed to supporting local government and partners to further reduce under-18 and under-16 conceptions, and provide support for young parents, as an important route to tackling inequalities, reducing child poverty and improving public health.”

The fall in young people conceiving coincided with an increase in older women having children. The conception rate for women aged 40 and over has more than doubled since 1990 from 0.6 per 100 women to 14 in every 100.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “These statistics demonstrate the trend towards older motherhood is continuing. At BPAS, we see many younger women who are choosing to postpone starting their family for a number of reasons: some have not met the right partner, whereas others want to wait until they have greater financial security, a home of their own, or progressed further in their chosen career.

“It is important that reproductive healthcare services, whether providing contraception, abortion or maternity care, reflect this shift. While pregnancy and childbirth for older women may present particular challenges, with some mothers requiring additional support, the answer is to provide the services that they need, rather than attempt to cajole women into having children earlier than they feel is right for them.”

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

    £60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

    Cover Supervisors needed in Cheshire & Shropshire

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Supervisor...

    Welsh Medium Teacher

    £85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

    Primary Tutors needed in Chester

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Tutoring in Cheshire West &amp...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits