Number of teen pregnancies in Suffolk reaches all time low

The number of teenage pregnancies in Suffolk has reached an all time low

The number of teenage pregnancies in Suffolk has reached an all time low - Credit: PA

The number of teenage pregnancies in Suffolk is at its lowest rate since figures began, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics.

The figures, released by the ONS yesterday, show that there were 58 conceptions for women aged 15-17 in Suffolk in March last year, and 45 in June, compared to 115 and 113 in the same months respectively when figures began in 1998.

The data combines the number of birth registrations, notifications of legal abortions and stillbirths occurring in Suffolk for women aged under 18 who normally live there. The figures do not include miscarriages.

It means that the overall teenage pregnancy rate for Suffolk stood at 14.1 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 in June last year, compared to 19.6 in June 2013, 22.8 in 2012 and 25.6 in 2011.

Reducing the number of teenage pregnancies has been a priority for Suffolk County Council for some time, and in recent years it has introduced a number of new schemes into schools and health centres. This includes a revised PSHE framework, which now has a greater focus on sex education and matters such as domestic abuse, increased focus on work with young fathers as well as young mothers, and tailored support for young parents delivered in partnership with children’s centres and supported by health visitors and youth support workers.

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A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “This recent figure shows that our partnership multi-agency programmes are working well to address unwanted pregnancies among girls under 18 in Suffolk. There is still work to do in areas with multiple deprivation and we are commencing a risk avert pilot programme across some schools in Suffolk from September to address risk-taking behaviours that include unplanned

sexual activity and pregnancies.

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“Reducing unwanted teenage pregnancy is a priority for Public Health Suffolk. The under 18 conception rate is one of three sexual health indicators in the Public health Outcomes Framework [for] 2013-2016, covering measures of progress on child poverty, continuing the focus on preventing teenage conceptions as well as the social impact on teenage parents. It is widely understood that teenage pregnancy and early motherhood can be associated with poor educational achievement, poor physical and mental health, social isolation, poverty and related factors. There is also a growing recognition that socio-economic disadvantage can be both a cause and a consequence of teenage motherhood.”

While the number of teenage conceptions has dramatically dropped, Suffolk still had the fifth highest number for June 2014 out of the 11 authorities in the East of England, topped only by Cambridgeshire (53), Norfolk (89), Hertfordshire (105) and Essex (134).

Bedford had the lowest number of conceptions in under 18s for the same period with nine, followed by Peterborough with 18.

However, the East of England had the fourth lowest figure of the nine regions in England, with 550 in June 2014.

The lowest figure was 358 in the North East and the highest was 924 in the North West.

In England and Wales, there were 5,740 pregnancies to girls aged under 18 in the three months to June last year, down 2% on the previous quarter and 9% year on year.

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