Fewer teenage pregnancies in Newham

The number of teenage pregnancies in Newham is continuing its downward trend with the publication of latest figures.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the under 18 conception rate for 2010 is 47.2 conceptions per 1,000 women in the borough . It has fallen by 21 per cent since 1998, down from 59.9 conceptions per 1,000. Health bosses believe the continuing trend is in response to initiatives aimed at youngsters who are at a higher risk of becoming a teenage parent.

Rachel Flowers, joint director of public health in Newham, said: “Teenage pregnancy is both a cause and consequence of social exclusion, health inequalities and child poverty. We know that children of teenage mothers are generally at increased risk of poverty, low education attainment, poor housing and poor health and have lower rates of economic activity in adult life.

“Our prevention strategy is to identify those individuals who are at a higher risk of becoming a teenage parent and to give them advice, support and options.

The teens and toddlers programme, targeted at young people who are at a higher risk, has been running successfully in a number of schools in Newham and has received positive feedback from all those who took part.

“We are also working closely with midwives and health visitors who play a key role in regularly visiting vulnerable women aged under 18 who are pregnant or who are already mothers and discussing with them and their partner, where this is appropriate, how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Young women are being referred to relevant agencies, including services concerned with reintegration into education and work where this is relevant.”

SHINE, a free and confidential NHS service, that offers young people in Newham advice and options on sexual health is available on (020) 8586 8888 or can be texted on 0762 480 2242.