Young teenagers who become pregnant in Grampian, the area with the highest incidence among 13 to 15-year-olds in Scotland, are to be studied by a women's health research centre. The project coincides with widespread concern about the recent birth of a daughter to 12-year-old Jenny Teague, of Poole in Dorset, Britain's youngest mother.
The Dugald Baird Centre for Research on Women's Health at Aberdeen University will spend five months building up a profile of pregnant teenagers. Wendy Graham, who is leading the investigation, said it would look at the characteristics of these teenagers "in terms of whether they continue with the pregnancy or opt for termination. By building up a picture of those most likely to fall pregnant during their teenage years, we can take a step towards reducing the problem."
The project, which is supported by a grant from Tenovus Scotland, is intended to be the first phase of a wider research programme lasting five years. It will look at teenage pregnancies in Grampian over the past 40 years and whether there are patterns across generations and families. It will also explore association between teenage pregnancy and a later history of obstetric and gynaecological problems.
The 12-year-old Dorset mother, who described her baby as "gorgeous and I love her to bits", went to a school that was regularly inspected to ensure "effective" sex education was delivered and the training of teachers had been described by the Department for Education and Employment as excellent, a spokeswoman for Dorset council said.
Jenny is now back at school.