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: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

    £18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific