Tracking four databases, a recent study finds sharply falling ‘teenage pregnancy’ rates in England, starting in 1997 and accelerating in 2007. Rates have fallen fastest in the most deprived areas, albeit from a very high base. The reduction has been much larger in England than in other European countries where the decline is also observed. It is difficult to know exactly why, but proximal causes (increasing availability of long-acting contraception) and distal causes (gradually improving educational standards in England) are both correlated in this study with lower teenage pregnancy. I think we should go even further in removing barriers to use of contraception in young people – for instance it should be available without prescription, or if prescription is required it should be available on site, given evidence cited in a previous News Blog.
— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director
- Wellings K, Palmer MJ, Geary RS, et al. Changes in Conceptions in Women Younger Than 18 Years and the Circumstances of Young Mothers in England in 2000-12: an Observational Study. Lancet. 2016; 388: 586-95.
- Lilford RJ. Contraception – a Huge Cause of Controversy Around the World. NIHR CLAHRC West Midlands News Blog. August 8, 2014.