Teen pregnancies continue to fall in Wigan

Fewer teenagers are falling pregnant in Wigan, figures reveal – but conception rates remain higher than the national average.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 10:36 am
Fewer teenagers are having babies

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service attributed the dramatic decline in English teenagers becoming pregnant over the last two decades to substantial shifts in their lifestyles.

Office for National Statistics data shows there were 19.3 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 in the area between April and June last year, the latest period for which data is available.

This was far lower than during the same period the previous year, when the rate was 28.4 per 1,000.

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Likewise, the rate across England fell from 18.3 to 16.7 per 1,000 over the period.

The data shows 25 girls became pregnant in Wigan in the three months to June 2018, compared to 42 in 2011.

Across England, conceptions halved over the seven-year period, from 7,373 to 3,679.

A BPAS spokeswoman called the dramatic decline “truly remarkable”, due in part to improved access to contraception and information about sexual health.

Changes in young people’s outlooks, lifestyles and aspirations has also had a “substantial impact”, she said.

The spokeswoman added: “Over the last decade we have seen significant declines in levels of binge drinking among young people, and significant increases if the amount of socialising that takes place online rather than in person.

“Young people report spending a lot of time at home with their family rather than being out with their friends.

“This is also a generation that is acutely aware of the political and economic environment around them.

“They are concerned that they may struggle to achieve the same financial stability as their parents’ generation, and are focussing on their education and careers in order to do so.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “Thanks to sustained efforts in local areas including increased access to contraception, teenage pregnancies are at a record low, helping to improve young women’s life chances across the country.

“However, teenage pregnancy is still more likely among young women from more deprived backgrounds.

“We are introducing compulsory relationships and sex education to help all young people understand the facts and choices about contraception and pregnancy.”

Earlier this year it was reported that there had been a large increase in the number of Wigan women undergoing abortions.

Department of Health and Social Care data showed that there were 1,109 terminations performed in Wigan in 2018: a massive 20 per cent more than just five years earlier in 2013.

It also equated to a rate of 19 abortions per every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, when the rate across England as a whole is 17.5 per 1,00.

Of those, 32 per cent of the operations were for women aged 30 or over: up from five years earlier when the proportion was 26 per cent.

Data showed that 99.8 per cent of abortions under 10 weeks in Wigan were funded by the NHS, a figure in line with the rate of five years earlier. And more than nine out of 10 of the terminations were carried out under 13 weeks’ gestation, with 82 per cent of them under 10 weeks.