THE number of teenage births in Leeton shire has increased in recent years compared to national and state levels, according to new data.
A new report into adolescent fertility rates by Family Planning NSW found while the national rate had halved in the last 10 years, 14 regional and rural local government areas (LGA) saw a rise in babies born to teenage parents from 2011 to 2020.
Leeton shire was one of those, as was Carrathool, Narrandera, Wagga, Edward River, Albury, Temora and Berrigan - all within the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
Fertility results based on small numbers of births and female population can fluctuate from year-to-year, meaning the numbers need to be interpreted with caution.
Adolescent mothers and their babies are more likely to experience short-term perinatal complications and longer-term health and psychosocial adversities than older mothers, which is why there is the need to monitor these trends.
In the Leeton LGA, in 2020 the rate was 20 live births per 1000 people in the age bracket of 15 to 19.
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The MLHD said it has a range of services women of all ages, including young mothers can access both before and after birth.
These included Leeton's midwifery-led model of care, the Department of Education has initiatives regarding family planning, a tresillian program based in Griffith that provides support to women about feeding, settling babies and adjusting to motherhood.
"Leeton also has access to a program called Brighter Futures, which helps prepare pregnant women (of all ages) for the post-natal period, because it is a big adjustment bringing a baby home," MLHD midwifery manager Sandra Forde said.
"Women in Leeton also have access to playgroups for peer support from other young mums who may be experiencing the same thing."
Tailored support is also available in the MLHD for Indigenous women.
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