ANTE-NATAL CLASSES FOR TEEN MUMS AT SCHOOL; Health Watchdog's New Initiative Would 'Normalise' Gymslip Pregnancies, Say Critics
Byline: Sophie Borland
SCHOOLS should run ante-natal classes for pregnant pupils, Government advisers said yesterday.
The courses would reach out to gymslip mums too embarrassed to see their GP or local clinics, they claimed.
Pupils would be able to skip lessons for the sessions at their schools and sixth-form colleges. Critics lambasted the proposal, saying it would normalise teenage pregnancy and make it more common than ever.
Britain already has the highest rates in Western Europe, with more than 41,000 babies born to women under the age of 18 every year.
That figure is twice as high as in Germany, three times the level of France and six times that of the Netherlands.
But the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is advising that schools in areas where teenage pregnancy is rife should hold classes to help young girls deal with labour and motherhood.
Nice cites concerns that pregnant girls are deterred from going to see their GP by the fear of being sneered at by the receptionist or patients in the waiting room.
Teenagers are said to be reluctant to attend locally-run ante-natal classes - held in community centres, clinics or hospitals - because they One feel they are being judged by the midwives.
Experts at NICE say that schools in the U.S. have held antenatal classes for years and they have been highly successful in teaching young girls about the ordeal of labour and motherhood.
Rhona Hughes, who chaired the panel behind the guidelines, said: 'We did find examples in the literature of good practice where clinics were held in schools and young women were more likely to access care.
'Teenagers can feel embarrassed going to clinics where there are older women.'
She added that the panel had interviewed many young girls who said they had bad experiences going to their GP or antenatal classes and felt they were being judged by the receptionist or midwife.
Although no British schools run antenatal classes, they have been held in classrooms in the U. …