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.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most