Teen pregnancies fell to all-time lows in England and Wales after the first Covid lockdown, official figures show.
The Office for National Statistics said 2,600 girls under the age of 18 became pregnant between April and June 2020.
This was about a third lower than the second quarter of 2019 (3,788) and the lowest since the start of modern records in 1998.
By comparison, there were 3,597 teenage pregnancies in the first three months of 2020 before the country went into lockdown on March 24.
The number of conceptions among teens has more than halved since about 2008, presumably as a result of better sex education and access to sexual health services.
But the accelerated decline is likely due to a decline in casual sex during the lockdown. There were similar declines in the number of sexually transmitted infections at the start of the pandemic.
Strict Covid rules imposed last spring placed the entire country under house arrest and made socializing with others indoors illegal.
The Office for National Statistics said 2,600 girls under the age of 18 became pregnant between April and June 2020. This was about a third less than in the second quarter of 2019 (3,788) and the lowest since the start of modern logging in 1998. By comparison, there were 3,597 teenage pregnancies in the first three months of 2020 before the country registered on March 24. lock went.
Breaking down regionally, the North East of England had the highest teenage pregnancy rate with 16.2 conceptions per 100,000 people.
It was followed by the North West at 15.8, Yorkshire and the Humber at 13.2 and the West Midlands (11.5).
At the other end of the scale, London had the lowest percentage at 7.5, which was almost half its share in 2019.
The percentages were also lower than average in South West (8.6), East Midlands (8.9) and South East (9). At the national level, Wales had a higher percentage (12.8) than England (10.8).
All in all, the second quarter figure for 2020 is the lowest ever. It is four times lower than the record of 11,157 in the fourth quarter of 1998.
One view is that the dramatic decline over the past two decades is due to the Department of Health’s teen pregnancy strategy, launched in 1999, which led to better sex education and access to sexual health services.
AREAS WITH THE LOWEST TEENAGE PREGNANCY AFTER FIRST LOCKDOWN (PER 100,000)
- Windsor and Maidenhead Unitary Authority <1
- Sutton London Borough <1
- Kingston upon Thames London Borough <1
- Westminster London Borough <1
- Oxfordshire County 2.8
- Harrow London Borough 2.8
- Barnet London Borough 2.9
- Swindon Unitary Authority 3.3
- West Berkshire Unitary Authority 3.9
- Camden London Borough 4
AREAS WITH THE HIGHEST TEENAGE PREGNANCY AFTER FIRST LOCKDOWN (PER 100,000)
- St Helens Metropolitan District 35.9
- Blackpool Unitary Authority 35.8
- Tameside Metropolitan District 26
- Halton Unitary Authority 24
- Kingston upon Hull, City of Unitary Authority 23.8
- Isle of Wight Unitary Authority 23.8
- Oldham Metropolitan District 21.7
- Southampton Unitary Authority 21.2
- Stoke-on-Trent Unitary Authority 20.7
- Thurrock Unitary Authority 19.3
Research suggests that areas that received more funding under that initiative experienced the greatest reduction in conceptions under the age of 18.
But the decline in teenage pregnancies, which are often unplanned, last spring is believed to be a direct effect of the Covid lockdown.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas and other facilities were closed during the first phase of the restrictions and people were only allowed to go out to exercise once a day.
And the Covid laws meant anyone who had sex with someone they didn’t live with could be prosecuted.
According to estimates from the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine, people reduced their social contacts by about 75 percent last spring.
Diagnosis of lung and heart disease fell to HALF during pandemic
Chronic disease diagnoses in England fell by half last year in a trend fueled in part by fewer GP appointments during the pandemic, grim official figures have released today.
The incidence of chronic lung disease (COPD) — a group of lung diseases that can cause breathing difficulties — was 51 percent lower in 2020 than in 2019.
The number of patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks, fell by 26 percent, followed by heart failure and diabetes, both of which fell by a fifth. The number of coronary artery disease cases also fell by 17 percent, the report found, and the number of strokes fell by 16 percent.
The report from the Department of Health and the Office for National Statistics suggests that tens of thousands of fewer people received a delayed diagnosis, worsening their condition. It claimed that ‘reduced activity in general practice’ was probably partly behind the trend.
NHS figures suggest there were around 23 million fewer in-person GP consultations in the first wave of the Covid pandemic alone, as NHS services and practices were encouraged to move to virtual institutions and Britons more reluctant to come forward because of fear of viruses.
It is illegal for anyone aged 16 or over to have sexual contact with someone aged 15 and under. It is also a criminal offense for both underage girls and boys to have sex with anyone under the age of 16.
The ONS figures show that St Helens in Merseyside had the highest teenage conception rate of any authorities in England at 35.9, more than three times the national average.
It was closely followed by Blackpool (35.8). In Tameside, Greater Manchester, the fare was 26 and Halton in Cheshire registered a fare of 24.
Rates over 20 were seen in Kingston upon Hull (23.8), the Isle of Wight (23.8), Oldham (21.7), Southampton (21.2) and Stoke-on-Trent (20.7) .
By comparison, four authorities had such low numbers that their rates were zero: Windsor and Maidenhead, and the London Boroughs of Sutton, Kingston and Westminster.
The figures refer to pregnancies resulting in live births, stillbirths or abortions.
They do not include miscarriages or pregnancies terminated by illegal abortions.
The date of conception is estimated using the registered pregnancy for abortions and stillbirths, and assuming 38 weeks gestation for live births.
A spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) said: ‘Many teenage mothers provide a loving, caring home for their child, and every parent should be supported.
“We need to make sure that when discussing the decline in teenage pregnancy we don’t stigmatize those who choose to have a baby at this stage of their lives.
“The continued decline in unplanned and unwanted teenage pregnancies reflects a trend we’ve seen over the past decade related to changing teenage lifestyles and social interactions.
“This is especially not surprising when you consider the impact of the pandemic and the associated restrictions.
“We also know that older women have struggled to access the contraception they need during the lockdown, and as life returns to normal, so must contraceptive services.”
Separate figures show that the number of sexually transmitted infections in England fell by 32 percent last year as a result of the pandemic.
According to Public Health England, 317,901 people tested positive for an STI in 2020, up from 467,096 in 2019.
The number of chlamydia – the most common STI in the country – fell by 29 percent, while those with gonorrhea fell by 20 percent.
The biggest drop was in cases of genital warts, which fell 46 percent, and herpes, which fell 40 percent.
PHE said Covid rules led to “behavioural changes” that affected the decline, such as less casual sex, as well as fewer testing and diagnoses.
With restrictions eased across the country, the agency warned people to be careful not to “trade social distancing for an STI.”