Worrying rise in teenage pregnancy

Teen mum: Posed by a model
Teen mum: Posed by a model

South Ribble has experienced the greatest increase in teenage pregnancy rates across Lancashire, the Guardian can reveal.

The problem is now a ‘growing concern’ as South Ribble is the only borough in the county to see a significant increase in under-18 conception rates, according to latest figures.

A new report on teenage pregnancies from Lancashire County Council reveals that South Ribble’s figures are up 18.7 per cent, suggesting more needs to be done to combat the issue.

Statistics show that 245 teenagers fell pregnant between 2008 and 2010, the most up-to-date figures available, with 43 of those being aged under 16.

Half of those ended in abortion - and terminations are also up 4.2 per cent from when the studies started between 2001 and 2003.

The Data Analysis Report For Teenage Pregnancy states: “The life chances of teenagedparents and their children are worse than those of older parents and their children.

“Teenage mothers are likely to experience a poorer standard of living and poorer mental health.

“The children of teenage mothers are also likely to do less well in educational terms, are more likely to become economically inactive and more likely to become teenage mothers themselves.

“Around half of teenage conceptions end in abortion suggesting that they are unplanned.”

Maggi Morris, NHS Central Lancashire director of public health, said there were a number of factors contributing to an increase in teenage pregnancies, including being a child of a teenage parent themselves, child abuse, and deprivation.

She said: “Tackling teenage pregnancy remains an important priority for us and we know that whilst there are positive stories across Lancashire, we have areas that continue to experience high and/or increasing rates.

“We continue to work in partnership with a broad range of agencies to improve the sexual health of young people.

“This includes a focus on ensuring young people receive sex and relationship education from people they trust at the time they need it and that sexual health services are available and accessible to them.

“The South Ribble Children and Young People’s Trust is an important forum for this work and risk-taking behaviours, of which sexual health is part, is one of its priorities.”

- For more on this story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.