Pregnancy at all time low among teens

Teenage pregnancies in the borough are at an all-time low, latest figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics figures show the North Tyneside rate of conception for under 18s in 2013 is 22.9 per 1,000 females aged 15 to 17 – a 61 per cent drop from the baseline figure in 1998.

It is the first time the rate has fallen below the national average – 24.3 per 1000 females.

Health officials have attributed to the co-ordinated approach by NHS and council services.

Director of Public Health, Marietta Evans said: “I am delighted that the strong partnership working we have in North Tyneside, bring together various services provided by the NHS and North Tyneside Council and the Community and Voluntary sector is making a real difference for our young people.

“Over many years there has been a strong partnership approach to teenage pregnancy prevention and support and it is clear from these figures that our approach is working.

“We are considering all aspects – making sure we support parents to talk to their children, working with schools, as well as providing advice and support for young people to access services.”

The council’s School Improvement Service Health and Wellbeing Team and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Public Health School Nurse team supports all schools to deliver sex and relationship education.

All schools are offered curriculum advice and staff training to support and feedback from children and young people about their understanding is fed back in to ensure continual improvement.

Parents are supported to have discussions with their children about relationships and sexual health through school specific sessions.

And when young people do become pregnant a dedicated Young Parent Midwife will support young parents-to-be to ensure they discuss an ante natal contraception plan as early as possible in the pregnancy and, in most cases agree a method of contraception before the birth.

Dr Helen Mcilveen, clinical manager for sexual health services, part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the reduction in teenage pregnancies.

“Reducing teenage pregnancies is a top priority for us and a big part of our work is ensuring young people are aware of the different forms of contraception which are available to them.

“We have seen an increase in the number of women using Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) including coils, implants and injections, more reliable methods of contraception which women don’t have to think about once they are in place.

“However, we are not complacent, and will continue to work with young people so that they make healthy choices and that they have the right information and skills to delay sexual activity.

“We want to ensure that they know where to get advice, support and reliable contraception from local sexual health services, GPs and community pharmacies and to avoid the consequences of unintended pregnancies.”