TEENAGE pregnancy rates in York have reached an all-time low, according to official figures.
Details released by the Office for National Statistics show the conception rate in the city dropped to 23 per 1,000 young women aged between 15 and 17 in 2012, with City of York Council saying growing confidence among those who use sexual health services and those who provide them has been the key.
Since 1998, the under-18 conception rate in York has fallen by 32 per cent, with 68 women in this age bracket in the city conceiving in 2012.
The council said it had focused on ensuring the city has clinics which young people feel comfortable attending, including services which can be accessed through schools and colleges.
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for health, housing and adult service, said: “York’s success in consistently reducing the under-18 conception rate is the result of ensuring that young people have the information they need to prevent pregnancy and access to young people-friendly contraception and sexual health services.
“Consideration also needs to be given to the impact teenage pregnancy has on the health of young mothers. It is thought they are more likely to suffer health, social and emotional problems than older mothers, and there also other consequences including the increased risk of complications during pregnancy and birth, as well as premature labour.”
The authority said having a specialist young people’s sexual health outreach team had been a major factor in reducing teen pregnancies.
It was now looking to find out if children and young people in the city felt they had enough information and whether their relationship and sex education was up-to-date, as well as covering issues such as relationship abuse and exploitation.
Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, children and young people, said teenage pregnancies affected school attendance and achievement, as 70 per cent of all teenage mothers were not in education or jobs.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, York’s director of health and wellbeing, said the council would keep targeting its work on vulnerable groups, saying: “Teenage pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on a young woman’s health, so it remains a priority for the city’s health and wellbeing focus.”