— with additional reporting from Emma Pearson
The rate of teenage pregnancies in Lincolnshire has barely changed since last year, raising doubts over the effectiveness of Lincolnshire County Council’s (LCC) strategy.
In comparison with figures this time last year, there has only been a 0.6% drop in teen pregnancy. Lincolnshire’s rate is 39.8%, which is lower than the national average of 40%.
It is not known if these figures relate to all conception, or only to pregnancies that have resulted in childbirth.
In a press release from LCC, Councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, said: “It is good to see that the local teenage pregnancy rate has decreased since the figures for 2007 and that there has been real progress since 1998. It shows that the Tackling Teenage Pregnancy strategy is working in Lincolnshire, but it is complex and taking time. This achievement can be attributed to some of the successful initiatives provided by the team and partners across the county.”
LCC’s plans for this year include continuing to offer sex education in schools and colleges, and expanding the “C-card” scheme where young people can access advice and free condoms from venues across Lincolnshire.
However, Hilary Pannack, chief executive of the national teen pregnancy charity Straight Talking Peer Education, says there is a better way of lowering the teen pregnancy rate.
“All of these things need to be implemented, but in our experience peer education is a much more powerful tool. Young people want this method of teaching. They already learn from their peers in the playground, so we should train them with the correct information instead of allowing myths to perpetuate. Young people need a reason to use contraception and this seems to be lacking from the majority of strategies,” she says.
Rebecca Christtmass, a 17-year-old mother of one, says it’s hard to bring up a child at a young age: “You can’t go out as much. You see your friends going out and you know you can’t go.” However, she concedes that although times can be hard as a teenage mum, it’s often rewarding. “when you do something for your baby [and] they look at you and smile, even though they can’t say it, you know they love you,” she says.
When asked what advice she would give to teenagers planning on having a child, Christtmass said: “Wait, it’s hard work and tiring and you miss out on a lot of things.”Tweet