Teenage pregnancies in Newcastle reach record low in 2020
Teenage pregnancies reached a record low in Newcastle in 2020, new figures show.
It follows a trend of falling conception rates across England and Wales, with the first year of the coronavirus pandemic having a particular impact on teenage pregnancies.
Office for National Statistics figures show there were 78 conceptions to girls aged under-18 in Newcastle in 2020.
This was down from 90 in 2019, and the lowest number since 1998, when records began.
They were among 12,576 under-18 pregnancies nationally in 2020.
The conception rate among under-18s in Newcastle stood at 18.5 per 1,000 girls that year, while this plummeted 17% year on year nationally to 13.1 per 1,000.
Young pregnancy rates are now at their lowest point since records began and have fallen every year since 2007.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the pandemic and measures introduced in response "have clearly had very different impacts" on the reproductive choices of women of different ages and backgrounds.
Spokeswoman Katherine O’Brien said: "Lockdown restrictions which prevented socialising with anyone other than members of your own household will have had a greater impact on women in younger age groups, who will be less likely to have been cohabiting with partners."
Ms O'Brien also said women on low incomes will be feeling anxious about their employment prospects and finances amid the cost-of-living crisis, adding that "these challenges are playing a very significant role in pregnancy decision making".
In Newcastle, there were 3,992 conceptions to women aged between 15 and 44 – down from 4,034 in 2019.
They were among 817,515 conceptions nationally, marginally down from 821,089 the year prior.
Women aged between 30 and 34 had the most conceptions – in the North East the conception rate among women in this age bracket was 102.2 per 1,000 people in 2020.
A fall in conceptions nationally has not led to a drop in births, Dr James Tucker, head of health and life events analysis at the ONS, explained.
"Provisional births data indicate that 2021 births actually increased, but that this varied over the year," said Dr Tucker.
"The first half of 2021 saw a decrease in births, all of which would have been conceived in 2020 when conceptions decreased; while the second half of 2021 saw an increase in births, which related to conceptions at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021."