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Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK


Grandmother at 26

Rotherham is a teenage pregnancy hotspot

Britain's youngest grandmother has spoken of her shock over learning that her 12-year-old daughter had given birth.

The 26-year-old woman said she had been devastated by the news but intended to support her daughter and baby grandson.

Teen pregnancy
The youngster, who is in her second year at comprehensive school, had the baby in the bathroom of their home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire on Thursday.

She had not known she was pregnant.

The girl and child were taken to Rotherham District General Hospital, where they are both said to be doing well.

'No idea'

The baby's grandmother, who gave birth herself at 14, told a news conference at Rotherham police station: "We had no idea she was pregnant. Nobody in the family did.

"She had put on a little bit of weight but we didn't suspect anything.

"I couldn't believe it when it started happening and I even threatened to smack an ambulance man when he said she had given birth."

The family revealed the youngster had been to see her GP in the weeks before the birth but the pregnancy had not been detected.

The day before the birth the girl was at hospital for a dental visit, but again nobody realised anything was amiss.

The grandmother, who lives in a council house, described her daughter as a normal youngster who enjoyed playing on her bike, watching television and listening to pop music. Her favourite group is Boyzone.

The child's grandfather added: "It would have been better if this had happened in a few years' time but we won't turn her away.

"We are obviously all upset but our main concern has to be the child and the baby in hospital. We just want to be left alone to get on with things."

Police and social services are investigating and will question the girl about the identity of the father.

'Victim of crime'

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: "We are treating this as a 12-year-old girl who is a victim of crime.

"The sexual offences unit is investigating but we will not be able to speak to the girl until after the weekend. Her welfare is paramount."

Rotherham has one of Britain's highest incidences of teenage pregnancy. Only this week its health authority announced that more cash was being provided to tackle the problem.

In some parts of the town, one in six pregnancies involve girls under the age of 19.

Britain's previous youngest grandmother is understood to have been 28 when her daughter gave birth.

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