Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 00:15 UK

Charity plea over teenage mothers

Pregnant at 17: Jennifer's story

The head of a sexual health charity said that it was often easy for society to forget the "human stories" behind teenage pregnancies.

Hwys Kilday, chief executive of Caledonia Youth, added that living in deprived circumstances was a "massive, massive" issue for teenage mothers.

Young women in poverty are five times more likely to have babies.

And teenage girls who leave school without qualifications are twice as likely to become pregnant.

Ms Kilday said: "Deprivation is a massive, massive issue because it is about life chances and it's about making people feel good about themselves and their confidence.

"Very many young people from areas of deprivation haven't had those life chances, so, they often put themselves at risk of poor sexual health and the outcomes can be very very poor for them in the future."

I left the pregnancy kit on my chest of drawers and my dad found it and asked me - he gave me a cuddle and said it would be all right.
Jennifer, 17

She added that society found it difficult to talk about sexual health and relationships in general and, therefore, it was sometimes easy to forget the "human stories" behind the issue.

Laura Coltart is Scotland's only midwife for teenage mothers who deals with their problems, helps them to stay in education, and talks to them about contraception for the future.

The Glasgow-based nurse added: "I see everyone in a home environment and not in a hospital environment.

"We have much more time to deal with the wider social and health issues that can occur with young women who are experiencing teenage pregnancy."

'Not happy'

Jennifer is 17 and expecting a baby next month. She said her boyfriend ended their relationship when he found out she was pregnant.

She explained how her immediate family received the news: "I left the pregnancy kit on my chest of drawers and my dad found it and asked me. He gave me a cuddle and said it would be all right."

She added that she had dreaded telling her grandfather and when she did he was "not happy at all".

Carly, 16, is also pregnant with her first child which is due in October. She said her mother took the news badly.

"She was angry and upset, but she said she felt more let down than angry," said Carly.


SEE ALSO
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