Health

Teenage pregnancies down to record low

Checking the result of a pregnancy test Image copyright Science Photo Library

Fewer teenagers are getting pregnant than ever before in England and Wales, according to new figures.

Among under-18s, the conception rate has halved in eight years, to 21 per 1,000 women in 2015, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

This may be due to young women staying in education for longer, improved access to contraceptives and the stigma of being a teenage mother.

The biggest rise in conceptions was in women aged over 40, the ONS said.

Since 1990, their rate has more than doubled to 15.1 per 1,000 women.

The number of women deciding to have a baby in their late 30s has increased by similarly high levels, but the most popular age to become pregnant is still between the ages of 25 and 29 in England and Wales.

However, the 30 to 34 age group is now close to catching them up with a continuous rise in conception rates since 1990.

In 2015, there were 125 conceptions per 1,000 women in their early 30s compared to 127 among women in their late 20s.

Outside marriage

The ONS says more women are conceiving after the age of 30 because of an increasing desire to focus on a career and the rising costs of housing and bringing up children.

It said uncertainty over job opportunities in the future could also be having an impact.

More than half of all conceptions and births occurred outside marriage or civil partnerships in England and Wales in 2015.

The areas with the highest conception rates among under-18s were Blackpool and Burnley.

Overall, teenage conception rates in 2015 in England and Wales were the lowest recorded since statistics were first produced in 1969.

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