Number of teenage pregnancies falls in Wales

The Welsh Government have released new figures from the National Community Child Health Database that show that births among teenage girls in Wales fell by more than 11 percent between 2010 and 2011. They are now a fifth lower than in 2006. The figures were for women under the age of nineteen.

Twenty out of twenty-two local authorities saw a fall in teenage births. Merthyr Tydfil was one of the two areas that saw an increase in mothers under the age of nineteen. This has long been a problem in Merthyr Tydfil and the increase was from 61 births to 79 over the period 2010/11. Bridgend was the other area to see an increase with a rise of 5 percent.

This fall in teenage births means that there has been a drop of 20 percent over the last eight years. This corresponds with an increase in births among mothers of all ages, of 10.5 percent. The largest drop in teenage births was in Gwynedd where the figures were nearly halved.

The director of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales, Helen Rogers, said that this was very welcome news but she also had a word of warning. She said that if the actual conception rate was going down, then this was a trend to be welcomed. But she added that, if only the birth rate was going down and the conception rate was going up, then all they are doing is using abortion as a form of contraception.

She also said that there were better programmes being implemented in some local authority areas than others. And she stressed the point that in some areas there were wider social issues to be addressed so that young women were given options and ambitions.