BMA submits teen pregnancy evidence
5 February 2013
A multi-faceted approach involving education and targeted support is required to tackle unintended teenage pregnancies in Scotland, the BMA is advising.
In evidence to the Scottish Parliament health and sport committee, which is holding an inquiry into teenage pregnancy in Scotland, the BMA says progress in reducing the numbers has been slow, and rates among under-16s remain largely unchanged.
The BMA says teenage pregnancy in itself is not necessarily a public health problem, but the cumulative effect of social and economic exclusion on the health of the mothers and their babies is.
Although school-based lessons are now the main source of information on sexual matters for adolescents, Scotland has a poor record of sex education compared with some countries, the BMA says.
Access to a full range of contraceptive methods is also important, the BMA adds, pointing out that health boards can contract with GPs to provide long-acting, reversible contraception services, which can be particularly valuable in rural areas, where family planning services are not available locally.
The BMA says the problems of unintended teenage pregnancy in Scotland are not easy to resolve.
It concludes: ‘Progress to reduce unintended pregnancy has been slow, and it is vital that resources are directed towards the achievements of the [Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus] framework to reduce unintended pregnancies.’