TEENAGE pregnancies reached a record low in Bolton in 2020, new figures show.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 80 conceptions to girls aged under the age of 18 in Bolton in 2020. This was down from 97 in 2019, and is the lowest number since 1998, when records began.

These new figures come with the caveat, however, that they were recorded at a time when socialising was at a minimum due to Covid-19 enforced lockdowns.

The conception rate in 2020 among girls under the age of 18 in Bolton stood at 16 per every 1,000, which is still higher than the national average of 13.1 pregnancies per 1,000 girls.

Numbers, though, have fallen every year since 2007 in the borough, when it was at the top of the pile when it came to such statistics.

READ: Teenage pregnancy rates "one of worst"

Bolton Council has been keen to tackle the issue, which can have many negative effects on people’s lives.

Cllr Susan Baines, cabinet member health and wellbeing, said: “I’m absolutely so pleased that what we’re doing in Bolton is working and is having an impact.”

The council has brought together multiple agencies in order to help tackle the issue, a collaboration which Cllr Baines says was quick to recognise as a driving force behind the declining figures.

The Bolton News: Cllr Susan BainesCllr Susan Baines

“It’s all credit to the new way of working, bringing the NHS, CCG and voluntary sector together.

“I’m very proactive all the time to work with all the agencies to make sure we are getting the right information out and targeting young people in the first instance.

“Education is a key factor. It is covered in the curriculum in secondary and primary schools now.

“Contraception is no more readily available to young people than ever before.”

One of the services the council has brought in is the Chat Health app, where young people and parents can talk to teenage support nurses in Bolton.

Cllr Baines said that there are many reasons why tackling the issue of teenage pregnancy is important, including the impact it can have on young girls’ physical and mental, as well as losing out on valuable education and life experiences.

“A girl’s body is still developing after the age of 19. It’s not ready for pregnancy.

“A girls place in society is absolutely important. We want girls to do well in society – in education and in later life – and teen pregnancy can impact that.

“A planned pregnancy is really what is required, so that they can make sense of everything.”