Teen pregnancies DROP

The number of teenage girls getting pregnant in part of the Thames Valley is the LOWEST for five years

Heart's got hold of figures released by the Office for National Statistics for 2009, which show a decrease in conceptions to under-18 young women in Oxfordshire. The national average is 38.2 per 1,000 young women aged 15 – 17.

2006 - 27.5 per 1,000

2007 - 29.7 per 1,000

2008 - 29.5 per 1,000

2009 - 26.1 per 1,000

NHS Oxfordshire have told Heart reducing the number of young women who become pregnant is a key priority for NHS Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire County Council.  Evidence shows that delaying parenthood until later in life gives both mother and child a better chance of a healthier and happier life.  Even though we have one of the lowest rates in the country, 26.1 per 1,000, there are some areas in Oxfordshire where rates are persistently higher and this includes parts of Oxford City and Banbury.

Clare Dodwell, Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinator (a joint post between NHS Oxfordshire and the County Council) said: “Whilst we should be encouraged by the pattern of reduction it is clear that we still have much to achieve.

 “Figures for 2009 show how important it is to prioritise the work and to make sure every single young person in Oxfordshire knows where to go for advice and contraceptive services.”

Teenage parents are less likely to do as well as their peers at school which can affect their own and their child’s life chances and continue the cycle of deprivation so it is important that we continue to work towards lowering rates of teenage pregnancy.

Increasing young people’s knowledge about their own sexual health, and how to access contraception means that they are better protected and clued up about safer sex.  It is also clear that giving young people the information they need helps them to make informed choices about their relationships.

Louise Chapman Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families at Oxfordshire County Council said: “The actual number of young women who get pregnant in Oxfordshire is relatively small but we know that by targeting our services to those young women most likely to get pregnant we can continue to reduce this number year on year.

“There has been great joint working between the NHS, schools and the County Council and this is reflected in the reducing number of pregnant teenagers in Oxfordshire but we know that we can’t take our eye off the ball and this will continue to be a priority for all agencies.”

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