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Drop in teen pregnancies; Lowest conception rates in under-18s for over a decade as abortion rates on increase.

Byline: TOM BODDEN

TEEN pregnancies have fallen to their lowest level for more than a decade - while a rising number of those who do get pregnant are having abortions.

The number of under-18s in North Wales getting pregnant fell to 463 in 2010 - down from 581 just four years earlier.

Wrexham has seen one of the most dramatic falls - moving out of the list of the UK's teen pregnancy capitals.

Conceptions in the county are down from 152 in 2005 to 99 last year, a fall from 62.5 per 1,000 (the highest in Wales) to 42.8.

New figures for each county show: ? The island of Anglesey has seen teenage pregnancies fall from 62 (46.8 per 1,000) in 2009 to 42 (34) in 2010.

. ? Teen conceptions in Conwy are down from 110 in 2006 (52.6 per 1,000) to 77 in 2010 (38.7) while Denbighshire's fell from 84 (43.6) in 2009 to 66 (38.7) a year later. ? Flintshire is the only county that has increased on 2009, a rise from 92 (32.2) to 105 (37.8), but this is still down on a decade ago, when the figure stood at 125.

. ? In Gwynedd the number of pregnancies stood at 74 (33.7) in 2010, down from 94 (42.6) a year earlier.

Despite the falls Wrexham, Conwy and Flintshire remain above the Welsh average of pregnancies per 1,000 teens of 37.7, and the UK figure of 35.5.

Back in 2010 the Welsh Government launched a five year plan to reduce teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

It highlighted the importance of prevention, education, individual responsibility, and access to healthcare services. It also aimed to promote a culture where people feel able to discuss and ask questions about sexual health and relationships openly.

The latest statistics showed the UKfared badly in comparison with other European countries. The number of conceptions leading to abortions has increased over the decade from 36.1% in 1999 to 44.5 in 2010.

In North Wales this ranged from 59% in Flintshire to 45.2% on Anglesey.

The number of under 16s getting pregnant has increased slightly from 269 for 2007 to 2009, to 276 for 2008 to 2010.

Total conceptions for all ages across Wales in 2010 was 44,094, up by 240 on 2009. More than 1,000 of those were women over 40.

The pregnancy rate for under-18s in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest since 1969. There were 34,633 pregnancies among under-18s in 2010, down from 38,259 in 2009. This represents a 9.5% fall over the course of the year.

Speaking at the time the 2010 plan for Wales was launched Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Jane Wilkinson said: "Teenage pregnancy is a complex issue that requires an integrated response.

This plan recognises that we need to provide good quality sex and relationships education for young people."

tombodden@dailypost.co.uk

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Teenage pregnancies are falling in Wales but remain above the European average
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 29, 2012
Words:511
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