Teenage pregnancy rate falls to lowest level since records began

Figures revealed the number of teenagers becoming pregnant had fallen by more than 60% since 2007.

Scotland’s teenage pregnancy rate falls to lowest level since records began iStock

Scotland’s teenage pregnancy rate has fallen for the 14th year in a row to the lowest level since records began.

Official figures from Public Health Scotland (PHS) revealed 3,221 women and girls under the age of 20 became pregnant in 2021 – with this total down by 65% from 9,362 in 2007.

There were 189 girls under the age of 16 who became pregnant in 2021, with a total of 1,060 pregnancies among those under 18.

As a result, PHS calculated under-16s accounted for 6% of teenage pregnancies while under-18s made up 33%.

With the teenage pregnancy rate having fallen from a peak of 57.7 per 1,000 women to 23.2 per 1,000 women in 2021, the PHS report said: “The trend of decreasing rates for those aged under 20 in Scotland continued for a fourteenth consecutive year in 2021, with decreases observed annually since 2007.

“The teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland is currently at its lowest recorded level since reporting began.”

The NHS Tayside area had the highest teenage pregnancy rate, at 32.2 per 1,000 women – with this almost double the rate of 16.7 per 1,000 women that was recorded in NHS Highland, where the rate was lowest.

While the rate of teenage pregnancies in the most deprived areas was more than four times higher the rate in the least deprived parts of the country – at 44.3 per 1,000 women compared to 9.9 per 1,000 women – PHS noted rates had fallen more rapidly in the poorest areas.

As a result, it said the gap between the most and least deprived areas had been narrowed.

The figures also showed more than half (53%) of teenagers who became pregnant in 2021 opted for a termination.

However, PHS 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.”

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