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Teenage pregnancy rate continues to drop

The teenage pregnancy rate in England and Wales continues to fall, although some regions have seen a rise.

There were 5,740 pregnancies to girls aged under 18 in the three months to June last year, quarterly figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

This is down 2% on the previous quarter, and 9% year on year.

The overall teenage pregnancy rate stood at 23.3 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17, compared to 25.4 in the same period during the previous year.

This represents a 4% fall on the previous quarter and 8% year on year.

North-west England accounted for the greatest proportion of pregnancies with 16% of total, with 6% in the North East and 6% in Wales.

St Helens in Merseyside had the highest teenage pregnancy rate at almost double the national figure.

The rate was 48.6 per 1,000 women, up 53% on previous quarter and up 35% year on year.

Oldham in Greater Manchester had a teenage pregnancy rate of 47.1, while it was 44.4 in S toke-on-Trent, 43.9 in Kingston-upon-Hull and and 43.1 in Gateshead.

Kingston-upon-Thames had the lowest rate at 5.9, while the figure was 8.5 in Wokingham and 10 in Herefordshire.

Stoke-on-Trent had the highest annual rate (for the 12 months to June 2014), almost double the national figure. The rate there was 45.4, while Blackpool had a rate of 43.2.

In Richmond-upon-Thames, the annual rate was 11.1 while in 5. Westminster it is 11.6.

A spokeswoman for the charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas), said: " We have seen a huge decline in the number of babies born to teenage mothers over the last decade, in part due to the improvements we've seen in contraception advice and services for younger women, with straightforward access to abortion services when their chosen method lets them down.

"But it also reflects broader societal shifts, with younger women quite rightly expecting and able to pursue educational and professional ambitions.

"While we must absolutely work to reduce unplanned teenage pregnancy, we must also recognise that there will always be younger women who do want to have a child at this stage in their lives and actively plan to do so.

"We should not stigmatise this group of women but instead ensure they have all the support they need to make the choices that are right for them."


From Belfast Telegraph