Teen mums in UK to have option of contraceptive shot or implant

The British government is advocating free contraceptive jabs or implants for teenage mothers to prevent them having a second child.

The government has unveiled the new strategy giving teenage mothers more access to contraception in the wake of new research which shows that children of young parents are more likely to suffer problems with their health.

Research has also shown that children born to teenage girls are 60% more likely to die during infancy than those born to mothers aged 20-39.

The government aims to channel the strategy via schools and drop-in sex clinics in order to curb future unplanned pregnancies by encouraging three-monthly injections and implants because they are less likely to lead to pregnancy than the pill or condoms.

Though such injections are controversial, with critics claiming they will increase promiscuity, the policy has come about because there is the belief that taking precautions on a daily basis is an unreliable way for young women to avoid pregnancy.

According to Families Minister Beverley Hughes every young mother-to-be would be assigned an adviser who will guide the teenager through pregnancy, counsel them on breastfeeding and encourage them to go back to school or work.

The plan will be tested in ten trial areas with the advisers becoming personal nurses who make home visits to the girls for the first two years of their baby's life.

Health workers have been instructed to advise and encourage pregnant youngsters to consider future contraception and inform them about the range of contraception available, particularly long acting methods of contraception.

Schools are expected to play a key role in getting young mothers better access to contraception and many secondary schools have onsite clinics where all pupils can arrange emergency contraception without their parents' knowledge.

A strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies was launched in 2000 but its success has been disputed as teenage pregnancies among under-18s rose in 2005 to 39,683 - up from 39,593 in 2004 and much higher than the 35,400 recorded in 1995.

Hughes says young people who are isolated, often falter in education, have poor health and lack the confidence and skills to live independently, and will struggle in today's world.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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