The number of teenage girls falling pregnant in Wales has dropped to its lowest rate in 10 years, but midwives are warning that a rise in older women having children is putting a strain on resources due to the greater potential for problematic pregnancies in older women.
The rate of teenage pregnancy is now 34 women in every thousand, whereas 10 years ago it was 45 in every thousand. This means that 6.4 per cent of new mothers in 2012 were teenagers, compared to 9.8 per cent in 2002. However, the rise of pregnancy amongst the over 40s has been steady, with an overall rise of 54 per cent in 2012 compared with a decade earlier. This puts more pressure on the midwife services; Helen Rogers, Director of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales, said: "women in this age group tend to have more complications in pregnancy and need more of the midwife's time in order to get the best possible care."
The fall in teenage pregnancies is a sign that health education strategies and schemes to encourage young girls to aspire beyond having a baby have had a positive effect.