Abortion clinics braced for Sunderland and South Tyneside’s unwanted Christmas babies

Professor Colin Bradshaw
Professor Colin Bradshaw
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SEX clinics and GPs are bracing themselves for an upsurge in abortion requests from women after unplanned festive frolics.

Too much alcohol mixed with the party spirit is being blamed.

Health experts say the combination creates a lack of inhibition and a sharp seasonal rise in unwanted pregnancies.

The upsurge is likely to see doctors busiest around mid-February, with most abortions happening within weeks six to eight of pregnancy.

GP Colin Bradshaw, of South Tyneside’s Marsden Road Health Centre said those seeking medical help ranged from teenage girls to women in their 40s.

Mr Bradshaw, 57, said: “There is a significant increase in post-coital contraception in the week after the festive season. There are also more requests for terminations within the next few months.

“Christmas cheer and goodwill extends to those in the 30s and 40s as much as teenage girls.”

And he added: “An essential component of a good night out are condoms.

“If you are drinking enough that your defences are lowered, then you should be thinking about defences against getting pregnant.”

Latest figures show there were about 7,000 across the North East.

Department of Health statistics also show birth rates soar in August and September, about nine months after the Christmas season.

Janice Chandler, lead commissioner for sexual health for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, which covers Sunderland, confirmed alcohol was a factor.

She said: “Sometimes when people are in the holiday spirit and consuming more alcohol than usual they may lose their inhibitions.

“They may be tempted to take risks such as having unprotected sex, which can expose them to unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia.

“Prevention is key to protecting against unplanned pregnancy and STIs, and the best way to do this is to avoid unsafe sex and use a condom.

“Anyone who thinks they may have put themselves at risk of unplanned pregnancy or contracting an STI, or who has symptoms of an STI should go to their local genito-urinary medicine. They should do this at the earliest opportunity.”

Statistics reveal there were about 196,000 abortions in England and Wales in 2010 – an eight per cent increase in 10 years.

The rate was highest in women aged 19-20, where it reached 33 in every 1,000. Ninety one per cent of abortions were carried out within 13 weeks of gestation, with 77 per cent at under 10 weeks.

One per cent were carried out where it was feared there was a natural risk to the baby.

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