Teenage pregnancy rates at all-time low in South Tyneside

KEEPING mum ... 76 girls under the age of 18 fell pregnant in 2013, less than half as many as in 1998.
KEEPING mum ... 76 girls under the age of 18 fell pregnant in 2013, less than half as many as in 1998.

TEENAGE pregnancies are at an all-time low in South Tyneside – but they remain higher than the national average.

Latest figures show that there has been a near 60 per cent reduction in girls under the age of 18 getting pregnant since 1998.

We are very pleased that the number of young women becoming pregnant has decreased overall again this year.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for health and wellbeing.

In 2013, 76 teenage girls in the borough conceived children, according to data from the Office of National Statistics. That works out as 28.3 per 1,000 of the borough’s population.

The figure for two years ago is in stark contrast to that for 1998, though.

Back then, the figure stood at 185 teenage pregnancies, a rate of 64.9 per cent.

Council bosses say they are delighted by the decrease, believed to be due to various initiatives and educational programmes.

However, the borough’s under-18 conception rate, is still higher than the national average of 24.3 per 1,000.

Coun Moira Smith, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, welcomed the results, saying: “We are very pleased that the number of young women becoming pregnant has decreased overall again this year.

“Reducing the rate of teenage conceptions is a priority area for the local authority, and to see such a substantial reduction since 1998 is testament to the work that is taking place throughout the borough.

“We will continue to ensure young people know where to get to advice, support and reliable contraception from local sexual health services, GPs and community pharmacies across the borough.”

Coun Joan Atkinson, the authority’s lead member for children, young people and families, added: “The figures reflect the hard work that is being invested in prevention programmes.

“They include the healthy schools programme, which aims to embed best practice across all health and wellbeing issues in school settings.

“This includes raising awareness of teenage pregnancy and promoting emotional resilience, which reduces risk-taking behaviour in young people.”

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