More Bedford pregnancies in 2020 despite fall across England and Wales

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Though first year of pandemic had particular impact on teenage pregnancies

More Bedford women fell pregnant in 2020, new figures show.

It comes despite a fall in conception rates across England and Wales, with the first year of the coronavirus pandemic having a particular impact on teenage pregnancies.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 2,741 conceptions to women aged between 15 and 44 in Bedford in 2020 – up from 2,631 in 2019.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Bedford has bucked the trendBedford has bucked the trend
Bedford has bucked the trend

They were among 817,515 conceptions nationally, marginally down from 821,089 the year prior and marking the fifth consecutive annual fall.

Women aged between 30 and 34 had the most conceptions – in the East of England the conception rate among women in this age bracket was 133.4 per 1,000 people in 2020.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the pandemic and measures introduced in response "have clearly had very different impacts" on the reproductive choices of women of different ages and backgrounds.

This includes a steep 17% drop in young pregnancies among girls aged under 18, with the conception rate plummeting from 15.8 per 1,000 girls in 2019 to 13.1 per 1,000 people in 2020.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The teenage conception rate is now at its lowest point since records began, having fallen every year since 2007.

In total, there were 12,576 conceptions to under-18s across England and Wales in 2020.

Of them, 43 were in Bedford – in line with 2019.

Katherine O’Brien, spokeswoman for BPAS, said: "Lockdown restrictions which prevented socialising with anyone other than members of your own household will have had a greater impact on women in younger age groups, who will be less likely to have been co-habiting with partners.

"This may be reflected in the sharp decrease in conception rates among those aged under 20, with conceptions rates among under-18s now standing at a record low."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said women on low incomes will be feeling anxious about their employment prospects and finances amid the cost-of-living crisis, adding that "these challenges are playing a very significant role in pregnancy decision making".

A fall in conceptions nationally has not led to a drop in births, Dr James Tucker, head of health and life events analysis at the ONS, explained.

"Provisional births data indicate that 2021 births actually increased, but that this varied over the year," said Dr Tucker.

"The first half of 2021 saw a decrease in births, all of which would have been conceived in 2020 when conceptions decreased; while the second half of 2021 saw an increase in births, which related to conceptions at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021."

Have you got a story to share with the Times & Citizen? You can email your news and pictures to us at [email protected]