More than 100 teenagers in the Bay of Plenty have given birth in Tauranga this year, including four 15-year-olds.

This year, there have been 102 pregnancies among teens aged 14 to 19, under the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

Four teens aged 15 gave birth in Tauranga Hospital this year and a 14-year-old had a baby in Whakatane Hospital.

Last year, 105 teenagers gave birth in Tauranga and 100 in 2014. The figures have dropped dramatically since 2007, when 179 teens gave birth in Tauranga.


Pregnancy Choice centre director Janice Tetley-Jones said the clinic provided information and support for pregnant women of any age.

Mrs Tetley-Jones said the biggest users of the service were those aged 22 years and over.

However, when a pregnant teenager came in they were often in shock, she said.

"They are thinking, 'what have I done and how can I stop this?' But when they are able to face up to it and get over the panic and think 'maybe I can actually do this', it can turn into a really positive experience."

Mrs Tetley-Jones said pregnant teens should not make a hasty decision.

"Decisions that are made out of fear and panic are not always good decisions. We just get them to settle down and let it sit for a while."

The time frame for a medical abortion was within nine weeks of pregnancy while a surgical abortion was within 12 to 15 weeks.

Mrs Tetley-Jones suggested talking to friends, family and the clinic about the situation before deciding whether to keep the baby, adopt it out or abort it.

"We spend some time looking at the pros and cons of those three options and what they mean for them. We get them to think past the here and now and what it will be like in six months or a year.

"What would life be like with a baby, or if they could gift the baby nine months of pregnancy and then adopt it out.

"Some women feel like if they do abort, they get rid of their problem but what replaces that can be worse."

A study by Professor David Fergusson examining the links between abortion and mental health, suggested women who had an abortion faced a 30 per cent increased risk of developing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Family Planning New Zealand chief executive Jackie Edmond said New Zealand was following an international trend of decreasing teen pregnancies.

Increased access to contraception and, particularly in New Zealand, increased access to contraceptive implants was thought to be behind the trend, she said.

Mrs Edmond said more access to information on sexuality would have helped too.

The right decision for a pregnant teenager was whatever she chose to do, she said.

"We encourage them to talk to family and friends, and we are there to ensure they have good access to information and services."

Mrs Edmond said although numbers were down, there was still work to do.

There were inconsistencies in access to information and services, especially in more rural areas, she said.