Kiwi teen mums: Numbers drop to record low

New figures reveal a dramatic drop in the number of Kiwi teenagers giving birth.

Numbers have been falling sharply since 2008, and have now reached a record low, while abortion rates are also falling.

The number of births by women aged 15 to 19 has plummeted from 5184 in 2008, to 2466 in 2016.

The number of under 15s getting pregnant has also dropped from 39 in 2008 to just 15 last year.

So what's behind the falling numbers?

Family Planning New Zealand chief executive Jackie Edmond thinks there's a combination of reasons.

"Hopefully young people are delaying having sex for longer, and they're having good access to services and contraception, and hopefully they're getting good information around sexuality education," she told Newshub.

But she said it's also down to the type of contraception available.

"Young people are having access to long acting reversible contraception, like the implant and IUDs, so that means that that's a really fail-safe contraception, it's not open to human error like the Pill or condoms."

Heaven Ngapera-Haines is one of the declining young mums, having gotten pregnant aged 16.

TV programmes like Teen Mom are also thought to be having an influence.

"Everyone's just watching on TV and seeing all these people getting pregnant at a young age and seeing how hard it is for most of them," she said.

Despite that, New Zealand's teen birth rate is still high compared to other OECD countries.

For Heaven, it's all worked out. She's still with the father, is now studying for her NCEA Level 2 at a special teen parent school, and plans to go to university.

"[Baby Dahlia] kind of gives me that boost to do good for her."

And while she doesn't regret becoming a teen mum, she says it's been a challenge and advises others to be more careful.

Newshub.

 

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