Portsmouth reduces teen pregnancy rate

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TEENAGE pregnancy rates in Portsmouth have been falling year on year, according to a report.

Information released by Portsmouth City Council show that the under-18 teenage pregnancy rate for 2011 was 33.3 conceptions per 1,000 girls.

This has fallen from 43.3 in 2010, and 50 in 2009.

Andrew Mortimore, Portsmouth’s director for public health, said: ‘We’re delighted with the improvement we have achieved over the past three years. It means young people are making positive choices about their health and their future.’

There has also been a significant decrease in the under-16 conception rates, with Portsmouth’s rate now at 6.1 conceptions per 1,000 girls.

For the first time, this is the same as the national average.

Rimple Poonia, the teenage pregnancy lead for the city, said: ‘This improvement has been achieved through a lot of hard work with agencies working together to ensure girls most at risk of becoming pregnancy have the right support available at the right time to prevent unwanted pregnancies.’

One of the initiatives used is the peer educator programme, which is run in schools.

Charlie Atkinson, who provides support as a peer educator, said: ‘It’s confidence boosting, it’s good to make young people realise the lifestyle of having a baby, making them see it’s not what others perceive. When a young person once said she would wait after listening to me, it made me feel good as I helped.’

To find out more, contact the Health Improvement Development Service. Call (023) 9284 1560, or visit areyousorted.co.uk.