North Yorkshire teenage pregnancy rate has gone up, bucking national trend
The teenage pregnancy rate in North Yorkshire has gone up, bucking the national trend.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the UK had seen a dramatic decline in teenagers becoming pregnant over the last two decades, but warned cuts to local health budgets could be fuelling regional disparities.
New Office for National Statistics data shows that 12 in 100,000 women aged 15 to 17 got pregnant in the three months to March 2018.
This was higher than during the same period in 2017, when the rate was 10 in 100,000.
In comparison, the rate across England fell from 19 to 17 per 100,000 over the same period.
A BPAS spokesperson said the role of council-run sexual health services in preventing teenage pregnancy should not be underestimated.
“We know that public health budgets have faced deep cuts in recent years, with over a third of local authorities reducing, or planning to reduce, their contraceptive services since 2015,” they said.
“It is really important that services are maintained so that regional variations, which will be due to complex factors, do not become more pronounced.”
Teenage pregnancy has fallen in North Yorkshire in recent years, and the pace of change has been faster than across England as a whole.
There were 27 pregnancies in North Yorkshire in the first three months of 2018, compared to 58 in 2011 – a fall of 53%.
Across England, the number of pregnancies fell by around 50% over the same period, from 7,373 to 3,678.
The BPAS spokesperson said the historical decline across England could be partly attributed to improved sex education and contraception provision.
They added: “Our research also indicates that shifts in young people’s attitudes and lifestyles have played a significant role.
“Increased use of social media among young people and more focus on their family life and future careers, as well as a decline in alcohol consumption, have all contributed to the fall in teen pregnancy rates.”