Teenage pregnancy on the decline

File photo

The rate of teenage pregnancy in New Zealand has halved in the past decade, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

The Report on Maternity found that in 2017 the teenage birth rate was 15 per 1000 females. In 2008 it was 33 per 1000.

Family Planning New Zealand chief executive Jackie Edmond said the decrease in teenage pregnancy figures was a positive change.

She said the drop could in part be due to the introduction of more reliable contraception, like Intra Uterine Devices (IUD) and implants.

Ms Edmonds said she hoped another reason was that young people were increasingly accessing good information and services around safe sex practices.

Jackie Edmond said there had also been an increase in couples coming to Family Planning for contraception advice, rather than just women.

The report also revealed a decrease in the number of mothers smoking two weeks after giving birth.

In 2017, more than 1800 fewer women were recorded as smoking a fortnight after birth compared with 2008.

Clare Perry, from the Ministry of Health, said that showed the smoke free message was having a real impact on New Zealanders,

However, the number of obese mothers was still a real concern, Ms Perry said in a statement.

"From 2008 to 2017, the proportion of women who had a healthy weight at first registration decreased significantly, while the proportion of women who were overweight and obese increased significantly."

Ms Perry said that in 2017, 31,000 women identified as overweight and obese.

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