Sunderland teenage mum figures fall

Figures show that teenage pregnancies have fallen in the city.
Figures show that teenage pregnancies have fallen in the city.

Sunderland has the third highest rate for teenage pregnancies in the North East, according to new figures.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows Sunderland had a conception rate of 31.9 per 1,000 women under the age of 18 in 2016.

The city had 135 conceptions, 20 down from the 2015 figures.

The number has fallen significantly since 1998, when there was 357 conceptions and a 63.1 conception rate per 1,000 women in the age group.

The North East continues to have the highest rates in the country.

Middlesbrough had the highest rate, at 36.5 per 1,000, followed by Hartlepool, which has a conception rate of 34.9 per 1,000 women and Sunderland.

Sexual health charity FPA has welcomed the drop, but expressed concern that the figures could start reversing as a result of cuts to sexual health services.

Natika H Halil, chief executive of FPA, said: “These cuts could mean that we see teenage pregnancy rates start to rise again in the coming years.”

A Sunderland City Council spokesman said: “The city council works in partnership with many other agencies providing health, education and advice to help prevent teenage pregnancies.

“A fall in the figures is the result of the hard work by teachers, parents, health workers and carers, and many others, to address this important issue.

“This is long-term work and the responsibility of everyone to help young people with knowledge, confidence and the ability to look at the many choices they face.”

“Despite the pressures on all council budgets, work continues to address all of Sunderland’s public health challenges.”