This is the first Scottish Strategy focused on pregnancy and parenthood amongst young people. It aims to increase the choices and opportunities available to young people which will support their wellbeing and prosperity across the life course. The Strategy addresses the fundamental causes of pregnancy in young people and its consequences, with actions focused on how we can impact on the wider environmental and social influences and individual experiences which effect inequalities. Reducing levels of pregnancy in young people helps to reduce the likelihood of poverty and a recurring cycle from one generation to the next.
The rate of pregnancy (this is defined as all conceptions i.e. live births and abortions) in the under 20s age group is decreasing in Scotland although it is still high compared to other countries, including comparable western states (appendix 1). Between 2007 and 2012, Scotland saw a 28%, 33% and 28% decrease in pregnancy rates in the under 20, 18 and 16 age groups respectively. This shows that high rates can be influenced with effective interagency joint working and evidence informed approaches. However, these rates are still high compared to other countries in the European Union and further afield (appendix 1) and some of this can be explained by the challenge posted by the gap in inequalities (figure 1). Females aged under 20 years old and living in a deprived area are 4.6 times more likely to experience a pregnancy and nearly 12 times more likely to continue the pregnancy as someone living in the least deprived areas of Scotland. Reducing levels of pregnancy in young people helps to reduce the likelihood of poverty and a recurring cycle from one generation to the next.