WORCESTER has ranked 10th in the country for the rate of teenage pregnancies.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) this week showed 70 girls in the city aged between 15 and 17 fell pregnant in 2012.

This is the equivalent of 43.1 out of every thousand girls – the 10th highest rate in England and Wales and more than one-and-a-half times the national average.

The report, which can be viewed at the ONS website ons.gov.uk, said teenage pregnancy rates tended to be higher among young women from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and with lower standards of education.

Middlesbrough topped the table with a rate of 52 per thousand, followed by Stokeon- Trent at 51.3, Burnley at 50.1 and Hastings at 49.9.

Corby was fifth at 47.2 pregnancies per 1,000, followed by Walsall at 46.9, Manchester at 45, Tamworth at 44 and Sunderland at 43.1.

The figures showed rates in all areas had dropped since 1998, when the rate was 50.6 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in Worcester.

Overall across the country there were 27.9 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged between 15 and 17, the lowest rate since records began in 1969.

Of all the teenage pregnancies in the country in 2012, nearly half were legally aborted.

National pregnancy rates have increased among women aged 30 and older but decreased for those under 25.

Rates for those aged 25 to 29 have fluctuated over the past 20 years.

Neither Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs maternity services in the county, nor Worcestershire County Council, which is also responsible for a number of health services, were able to comment on the figures yesterday.

For pregnancy and sexual health advice visit your GP or call NHS 111.