Teenage Pregnancy


Content last reviewed: 18 October 2016

Teenage Pregnancy is a complex issue affected by personal, social, economic and environmental factors. Teenage pregnancy is strongly associated with the most deprived and socially excluded young people. Difficulties in young people’s lives such as poor family relationships, low self-esteem and unhappiness at school also put them at greater risk[1]

It is important to remember that some teenagers are successful in the parenting of their children, however giving birth as a teenager can be detrimental for the young mother. Evidence suggests that she is more likely to drop out of school, to have no or low qualifications, to be unemployed or low-paid, to live in poor housing conditions, to suffer from depression, and to live on benefits. Furthermore, the child of a teenage mother is also more likely to live in poverty, to grow up without a father, to become a victim of neglect or abuse, to do less well at school, to become involved in crime, to abuse drugs and alcohol, and eventually to become a teenage parent and begin the cycle all over again[2]

The focus on teenage pregnancy as a major public health issue began in 1999 with the then government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. The ambitious target of halving teenage pregnancy by 2010 was set[3]. The 2014 under 18 conception rate released by The Office of National Statistics shows that England's rate is now 51.1% lower than 1998. The 2014 under 18 conception rate for Central Bedfordshire shows a 49.5% reduction in under 18 conceptions since 1998[4].


[1] Department for Education and Skills, Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010, DfES Publications, Nottingham, 2006.

[2] UNICEF, Innocenti Report Card: A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy, 2001.

[3] Local Government Association, Good progress but more to do: Teenage pregnancy and young people, Local Government Association, London, 2016

[4] Office of National Statistics , Under 18 Conception Data 2014: England and Wales, Office of National Statistics, London 2014.

Last updated Tuesday, 18th October 2016