Cambridgeshire bucks national trend as figures show increase in teenage pregnancies
- Credit: Archant
More teenagers aged under 18 in Cambridgeshire are becoming pregnant, bucking the national trend.
New Office for National Statistics data shows 13 in every 1,000 women aged between 15 and 17 became pregnant in Cambridgeshire in 2017, compared with 12 in every 1,000 the previous year.
This increase is also a reversal of the longer-term trend in the area, and the pregnancy rate among teenagers is still 41 per cent lower than in 2011.
Across England and Wales, the proportion of women aged between 15 and 17 becoming pregnant has fallen by seven per cent since 2016.
Katherine O’Brien, associate director of communications and campaigns at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said the trend is in part due to improvements in the information provided to young people.
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She said: “There is no doubt that improved access to contraception, particularly highly-effective long-acting methods such as the contraceptive implant, has had a significant impact.
“This may be in part due to improvements in the information we are giving our young people, but wider societal shifts are also being reflected in the downward trend.
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“We know that young people today are very much focused on their education, determined to succeed in a challenging economic environment, and feel that having a child at this stage will be disruptive to their life goals.”
In 2017, there were 131 pregnancies among women aged 15 to 17 in Cambridgeshire.
Half of them ended with an abortion.
Ms O’Brien added: “Far from the stereotype of groups of teenagers binge drinking, young people are consuming alcohol at much lower levels, spending significant amounts of time socialising with friends online rather than face-to-face.”
Across England and Wales, there were 847,204 conceptions among women of all ages, of which 16,740 were aged between 15 to 17.
Natika Halil, chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, put the fall in teenage pregnancy rates over the last few years down to hard work from health and education professionals.
She said: “That’s why it’s so concerning to see the cuts to sexual health services across the country, which could so easily undermine this hard-won achievement.
“Teenage pregnancy can be reduced by investing the right time, resources and expertise into services and education.
“This investment not only saves money in the long-term, but also helps prevent the range of negative long-term educational, health and social outcomes that young parents and their children are more likely to experience.”