As per a new study, teenagers who become pregnant are at a higher risk of further teen pregnancies
As per a new study, teenagers who become pregnant are at a higher risk of further teen pregnancies.
Nearly a quarter of teenagers in England and Wales who have had an abortion have been pregnant before, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Drawing on more than 20 years’ worth of data the study shows, for the first time, the number of young women aged 15-19 undergoing an abortion who had experienced at least one previous pregnancy, resulting in either a birth – live or stillbirth – or abortion.
While the teenage conception rate in England and Wales has declined in recent years and is now at a record low, further reductions are still needed to bring it in line with other western European countries.
The authors say that in order to do this efforts need to focus not just on preventing first-time pregnancies but also to support pregnant and parenting teenagers to better manage their reproductive lives.
They call for greater emphasis to be placed on developing more sophisticated and effective interventions to prevent future unplanned pregnancies among this group, such as helping the young women to find a contraceptive method that best suits them, making it easy for them to obtain this and providing ongoing support.
Lead researcher Lisa McDaid said that as not all teenage conceptions are first-time conceptions, it had been important to accurately identify the number of teenagers who become pregnant for a second time or more.
This information will help to guide more targeted interventions to continue the downward trend in pregnancy and to monitor the effectiveness of current sexual health priorities on reducing conceptions and unwanted pregnancies among this age group, added McDaid.
The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.