Adolescent pregnancy in the United Kingdom

R. Reilly, Shantini Paranjothy, David Fone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


There has been little change in the adolescent pregnancy rate over the last decade in the UK. There has also been little change in the outcome of adolescent pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth during adolescence are still associated with increased risk of poorer health and well-being for both the mother and the baby for the most part caused by socioeconomic factors that precede and follow early pregnancy rather than the biological effects of young maternal age. There is little evidence on the impact of adolescent fatherhood on health and well-being. The overall impact on society is a perpetuation of the widening gap in health and social inequalities. Government initiatives, interventions and support services aimed at young mothers should continue to be targeted at vulnerable groups of society with specific socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. As the available evidence suggests, these groups and their children are at highest risk of poor health and social exclusion. In 1999, the government published a 10-year Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. The policy target was to halve under-18 pregnancy rates by 2010. The level of reduction against the target is not yet known, but in 2010, it was reported that the rate was behind the trajectory required to achieve the target. An earlier report showed that the majority of the observed decrease was attributable to reductions in less deprived areas. In areas of higher deprivation, there was little change, resulting in renewed efforts and interventions to meet this target and a shift from national to more localised initiatives. This prompted the publication of the ‘Beyond 2010’ strategy to maintain focus on adolescent pregnancy. Further research should examine longer term morbidity experienced by adolescent mothers, young fathers and their children, to gain a better understanding of how much of this morbidity is attributable to socioeconomic characteristics and the pathways that mediate adolescent pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Adolescent Pregnancy
Subtitle of host publicationmedical, psychosocial, and public health responses
EditorsAndrew L. Cherry, Mary E. Dillon
ISBN (Print)9781489980250
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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