Teenage births in Hawke's Bay have fallen to a record low, and one midwife is praising better access to contraceptives for the decrease.

Newly released data from Statistics New Zealand for the region show there were 147 recorded births in the region by mothers 19 years old and under - a 43 per cent drop on just seven years ago, and the lowest figure shown in publicly available figures, dating to 1991.

Teenage birth numbers averaged 230 for the eight years between 2003 and 2010, but have been below 200 for the last five years straight.

Ila Northe, a Napier midwife for 25 years, said the long-acting contraceptive implant Jadelle was popular and had resulted in fewer unplanned pregnancies.


Doctors insert one or two small Jadelle rods into an arm and progesterone is released into the bloodstream for three to five years, preventing the ovaries releasing an egg each month.

Since the Government began subsidising Jadelle in 2010, teen pregnancy rates have dropped 37 per cent throughout the country.

Total births in the Bay have also been on the decline, with 2015 figures the lowest since 2005.

Ms Northe said an increasing number of mothers were putting their jobs before having children.

"A lot of women are leaving it until their 30s before they even think about starting a family. They're busy having careers and doing other things."

Statistics show mothers having children later in life is becoming far more common. Nationwide, the number of mothers over the age of 40 has increased 64 per cent since the year 2000, and the number of mothers over 45 years old has tripled in the same time period.

College of Midwives midwifery adviser Lesley Dixon said waiting until the mid-30s to have children was common, and advances in fertility treatment comforted those worried about struggling to get pregnant naturally as they got older. "There's more support from IVF to become pregnant. In most developed countries women are delaying having children, which means some mothers will become pregnant in their 40s."

Rates of teenage pregnancy in New Zealand (18.7 per 1000 population) is far lower than both the United States (24.2) and United Kingdom (23.3), but higher than Australia (13).