Thursday, October 18, 2007

British Teens Top Pregnancy Rates

The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe, according to a worldwide report on sexual health.

It ranked Britain as one of the safest countries regarding health risks to women.

But, at 19th safest, the UK still lagged behind countries like Croatia, Estonia, Cuba and the Czech Republic.

The report's authors warned that teenagers, who often had unplanned pregnancies, ran a higher risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Reducing teenage pregnancy and improving sexual and reproductive health are priority areas for the UK Government.

"Teenage pregnancy rates are at their lowest for 20 years. Between 1998 and 2005 the under-16 conception rate has fallen by 12.1%."

She added: "The UK is one of the safest countries in the world in which to have a baby."

The report, released by Population Action International, also found that the lifetime risk of maternal death is more than 250 times higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

It ranked 130 countries, comprising 96% of the world population, into categories from highest to lowest sexual and reproductive risk for women.

Report authors looked at factors including HIV prevalence, teenage birth rates, maternal deaths and infant mortality rates.

The Netherlands had the lowest risk of all, ranked at 130, while the UK was placed at 112.

The highest sexual and reproductive health risk was in Niger, ranked at number one. Chad, Mali, Yemen and Ethiopia are also in the highest risk category.

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