This is why fewer Fife teens are falling pregnant

Image for East Renfrewshire teenage pregnancy story
Image for East Renfrewshire teenage pregnancy story

The number of teenage pregnancies in Fife has dropped by almost 50 per cent over the past decade.

According to the National Record of Scotland, the under-19s age group has seen a reduction in pregnancies by 48.5%.

After it was revealled that NHS Fife recorded the highest pregnancy rate in the under-18 age group – 25.4 in every 1000 – a number of initiatives were set up to combat these high figures.

One programme was at Kirkcaldy High School – one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Kingdom – where students were provided with access to specialist health services, which included handing out contraception.

Similar programmes were run ay Lochgelly High School, which provided a sexual health services for students to make appointments with professionals.

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Cllr Kathleen Leslie, (Conservative) ,Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy said: “High schools have done much work not only in terms of sex education but also in providing information on local health hubs and drop in centres for young people.

“Stigmas about asking where contraception can be accessed have, thankfully, reduced and young people feel more empowered and not afraid to ask.

“In my ward there is a health hub which runs in a community hall during schools lunchtimes and is open to anyone from 12 year old. It offers free, confidential advice, free contraception and free pregnancy testing.

“Changing attitudes in asking for advice and availability of – and knowing where it is available – contraception have undoubtably played a huge part in successfully reducing the number of teenage pregnancies in Fife.

“Empowerment of young people also has to ensure that attitudes and mindset are such that girls should never feel pressurised into having sex when they are not ready.

“Contraception has to be part of the dialogue between young people. Teenage pregnancy is only one part of this.

“Whilst a lot of fantastic work has and is being done in Fife, most recent figures for under 16 pregnancies show 4.4 per 1000 which is still above the national (Scotland) average which is 3.0 per 1,000.

“Education is the key here and whilst there is clearly success it would wrong to become complacent.”

Heather Bett, Clinical Services Manager said: “Over the course of the last ten years or so, targeted work in selected school areas involving teachers, school nurses and other community staff has worked well and contributed to the overall reduction.

“The prevention approach was supported with resources for parents and surveys for young people meaning that their views and concerns were addressed.

“Overall, this is a positive picture and, in 2014, Kirkcaldy High School’s initiative achieved a COSLA Excellence Award for their work.

“However, there’s no doubt that teenage pregnancy is an ongoing issue that can contribute to poverty and inequality in our communities.

“We’ll continue to focus on work developing young people’s confidence and helping them make good life choices as part of Fife Partnership’s work to build a fairer Fife.”