Record low number of teenage pregnancies in Scotland

More than half of teenagers who conceived in 2019 decided not to continue with their pregnancy.

Record low number of teenage pregnancies in Scotland iStock

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 3814 in 2019 – a drop of almost 60% from the 9362 teen pregnancies recorded in 2007.

And for the first time, more than half of teenagers (50.3%) who conceived in 2019 opted to terminate their pregnancy.

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 1000 women in 2018 to 28 per 1000 in 2019.”

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 1241 were under the age of 18, while 2573 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, numbers 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 in the least deprived, at 52.6 per 1000 compared to 11.8 per 1000.

Public Health Scotland explained: “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.”

Teen pregnancy rates also varied in different areas, with the NHS Borders health board area having the lowest rate on the mainland at 22 pregnancies per 1000 women, wile NHS Fife had the highest rate at 35 per 1000 women.

Commenting on the decline in teenage pregnancies since the “most recent peak in 2007”, the report said that this could be down to “various interventions” from the authorities and changing lifestyle factors.