Scotland’s teenage pregnancy rate has reached a record low, new figures have revealed.
The number of women under 20 who became pregnant fell for the 12th year in a row, to stand at 3,814 in 2019 – a drop of almost 60% from the 9,362 teen pregnancies recorded in 2007.
And for the first time, more than half of teenagers who conceived in 2019 opted not to continue with their pregnancy, with 50.3% opting for a termination.
Publishing the figures, Public Health Scotland said: “The teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland is at its lowest level since reporting began in 1994. The rate fell from 30 per 1,000 women in 2018 to 28 per 1,000 in 2019.”
The report added: “The trend of decreasing rates in the under-20 age group in Scotland continued for the 12th consecutive year in 2019, with a decrease of over 50% observed since 2007.”
The figures cover those women under the age of 20 who became pregnant during 2019 – with Public Health Scotland explaining the delay in reporting the figures “is due to the amount of time required for a conception to result in a birth or termination, and for the relevant documentation to be recorded and validated”.
A total of 219 girls under the age of 16 became pregnant in 2019, according to the data, with this group accounting for 5.7% of teen pregnancies.
A further 1,241 were under the age of 18, while 2,573 were aged either 18 or 19 when they became pregnant.
The report also found that, while teenage pregnancy rates have fallen across all levels of deprivation over the last decade, “rates in the most deprived areas have fallen more rapidly”.
But, despite this, the teen pregnancy rate was still more than four times higher in the most deprived parts of the country than it was in the least deprived, at 52.6 per 1,000 compared to 11.8 per 1,000.
Public Health Scotland noted: “Teenage women from the most deprived areas are more likely to deliver than to terminate their pregnancy. In contrast, those from the least deprived areas are more likely to terminate than to deliver.”
Commenting on the decline in teenage pregnancies since the “most recent peak in 2007”, the report said that this “may be due to various interventions” from the authorities, it has said it has “been suggested that changing lifestyle factors such as reduced risk-taking behaviour and reduced alcohol consumption may have contributed to the decline”.
Source: The HeraldCategories: Education Scotland