A review of the literature on unplanned and teenage pregnancies was undertaken for four District Health Authorities. This work was carried out within a national context of increasing conception rates for teenage women aged 16 and under and in the knowledge that pregnant teenagers and their children tend to have poor life chances. The Health of the Nation White Paper has now focused attention on this by the inclusion of a target to reduce pregnancies to under 16-year-old women by half. To achieve this, health authorities need some understanding of the types of services which might be effective. Whilst there is limited evaluative work on the effectiveness of services for young people in this country, international comparisons suggest that some methods for reducing unintended teenage pregnancies may be more effective than others. The specific service issues identified are the need for advice and support pre-conceptually, during pregnancy and after abortion/birth; the need for easier access to contraception; the need for improved information on risky behaviour--particularly relating to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, and the need for improved medical and social care for pregnant teenage women. The most effective approaches for preventing unintended teenage pregnancy would appear to be the development of comprehensive advisory and family planning services, including sex education and the commitment by central and local government to tackle the adverse socio-economic factors which are associated with teenage pregnancy.