31 Mar 2017

Public Health

Teenage pregnancy rates fall again in Bristol

The number of teen pregnancies in Bristol has fallen again and remains well below the national average according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) (17.3 per 1,000 vs 20.8 per 1,000).

In Bristol conceptions in girls aged under 18 have reduced by two thirds since 1998 when the Bristol teenage pregnancy strategy began.

This is the second year since that Bristol’s rate has been lower than the national average. In 1998 there were 339 young women under 18 who conceived, and this reduced to 113 in 2015, which is the latest figure available from ONS.

Bristol City Council has worked with partners across the city to address this complicated public health issue. Effective education programmes and easier access to contraception have equipped young people to make informed choices to bring down rates across all areas of the city.

Becky Pollard, Director of Public Health, said: “I’m pleased to see the number of teenage pregnancies fall again which has been aided by improving relationships and sex education, providing young people with high quality sexual health services and undertaking targeted work with vulnerable young people.”

One of the groups working in the city to reduce teen pregnancy and better support young people who do have babies is the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP).  FNP works with first time teenage mums. A specially trained family nurse regularly visits the young mums until their child is two, delivering an intensive parenting programme tailored to individual’s needs, and supporting girls to achieve their aspirations which can involve accessing education, employment and training and delaying a second pregnancy.

Laura is one of the girls that FNP nurses have worked with. She was 14 years old when she got pregnant and her mum and sisters had all been teenage mothers. She joined the FNP programme when she was 16 weeks pregnant. She said: “I didn’t realise that I could actually achieve my dream, I thought it was just a dream. The programme helped me believe in myself and I can see that having another baby too soon would prevent me achieving my goal of becoming a midwife.”

For more information about the sexual health services available in Bristol, visit: www.4ypbristol.co.uk.

Last year Bristol’s sexual health services were recommissioned. More information can be found here.