TEENAGE pregnancies have fallen by a third over the past year in Southampton, it has been revealed.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of teen pregnancies fell by 34 percent for 15 to 17-years-old between 2017 and 2018.

The data found 57 pregnancies took place in 2018 - down from 87 in 2017.

A similar decrease was also discovered for under 16s, where from 2015-17 there were 48 conceptions.

However, from 2016-18 this rate dropped to 33.

The city council and its partners, including No Limits, Solent NHS Trust and school administrators, have combated teenage pregnancies by improving condom distribution and access to contraception online.

The partnership has also stressed education and early prevention in the community is key to helping young people making informed decisions about their relationships and choices about sex.

This includes consent and talking with partners about using condoms to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Cllr Dave Shields, cabinet member for Healthier and Safer City, SCC, said: "The decline in teen pregnancy rates in Southampton over the past year is certainly an impressive improvement.

"Though this is only the first year of such a dramatic drop, these results are part of a longer term trend in the same direction.

"We can largely attribute this success to our great partnership with No Limits and Solent NHS Trust working across the city."

Service Manager at No Limits, Alice Mooney, said: “We are delighted with the latest teenage conception data, these figures really highlight the strength of partnership working across the city.

"Through joint commissioning, No Limits and Solent Sexual Health Services work in partnership to deliver Girl Talk, Boy Talk to targeted schools in Southampton, Hampshire and Portsmouth. Equipped with the information, young people are then able to make their own informed decisions about their sexual health outcomes.

"In addition to GTBT, No Limits offers Health and Wellbeing drop-ins to 10 secondary schools and three further education colleges across Southampton.

"These drop-ins provide an opportunity for interventions around sexual health and include a condom / pregnancy testing provision and, when needed, a direct referral route to a sexual health outreach nurse.

"In 2017, No Limits and Solent NHS Trust Sexual Health Services opened our city centre young person’s sexual health clinic. Through this weekly clinic some of the most vulnerable young people in the city have been able to access a specialist sexual health nurse in a supportive environment designed for them and their needs.”

Operational Manager for the Sexual Health Service at Solent NHS Trust, Debbie Zimmerman, said: “Educating young people about sex, relationships and sexual health is vital in supporting the reduction of unplanned pregnancies and we are really encouraged that this is reflected in the latest figures.

“Our teams work directly with young people through sex education programmes in secondary schools.

"Our specialist staff talk openly with them about their relationship choices, choices about sex and consent, and communication with their partners about the use of condoms to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections to empower them to make informed decisions.

“We have a community service and clinics that support young people one to one, and we work alongside No Limits – a charity for young people – that has really strengthened the strategy in the city to support the health and wellbeing of young people overall.”