Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Pregnancy counselling data revealed

More than 5,500 women with a crisis pregnancy had 8,000 hours of counselling last year, new figures show

More than 5,500 women with a crisis pregnancy had 8,000 hours of counselling last year, new figures show.

The Crisis Pregnancy Programme said women attended 15 services it funds around the country, while thousands more received advice over the phone.

The largest age group attending services was 18 to 24-year-olds, with the average age being 23.

Dr Stephanie O'Keeffe, acting director, said providing sex education in school and in the home is the single most important thing that can be done to prevent unplanned pregnancies and the spread of infections.

"While we have seen sustained reductions in teenage pregnancy and teenage abortion rates over the last 10 years, evidence shows that young people continue to face immense pressures from the internet, advertising, and of course their peers," said Dr O'Keeffe.

"The Crisis Pregnancy Programme will be co-ordinating a large-scale dissemination of the lesson plans to post-primary schools and youth work settings over the coming months."

Financial reasons, an unplanned pregnancy, medical difficulties and relationship problems are the most common reasons given for a crisis pregnancy.

Research shows about 75% of women with a crisis pregnancy opt to have the baby, while 15% have an abortion. The rest either suffer a miscarriage or have their baby adopted.

In its annual report for 2010, the Crisis Pregnancy Programme revealed its website, crisispregnancy.ie, received more than 20,000 visits last year.

Meanwhile b4udecide.ie - its education initiative which aims to encourage teenagers to make healthy decisions about relationships and sex - had 80,000 hits during the year.

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