As Coronation Street schoolgirl Faye Windass finally gives birth to her baby daughter after keeping her pregnancy a secret, Specialist Teenage Midwife Sue Thompson of Liverpool Women's urges other schoolgirls not to follow her example.
Sue has supported many schoolgirls who have found they are pregnant and says the character of Faye was lucky that her pregnancy and birth went normally.
"Keeping a pregnancy a secret is not uncommon," says Sue. "I have come across other girls who have done the same. Half of the girls I see haven’t told their mothers when they first come to me. As it is a totally confidential service, we would urge a girl to tell her parents herself.
"There are serious risks in keeping a pregnancy secret like Faye has. It means the girl has had no ante-natal care and that in itself carries risks. If she is not eating properly she could be anaemic which would be a risk to her own health and affect the baby's growth. If she is drinking, taking drugs and smoking that will also put the baby at risk.
"If she is not having scans there is no way of knowing if baby has a problem which we might be able to deal with in our Fetal Centre. If the placenta is lying low this could stop the baby growing. This also puts her at risk of haemorrhage and both she and the baby could die. She might even be having twins."
Sue, who won the accolade of Midwife of the Year for her work with teenage pregnancies, urges girls in a similar position to Faye now to either tell their parents or access services at Liverpool Women's in complete confidentiality.
"They are often terrified and in some cases, the girls ask me to tell their mothers. In my experience, parents may be shocked initially, especially if they have high hopes for their daughter’s future career and know a baby will tie her down. But mums - and nans - quickly become more concerned about the welfare of their daughter and baby and are a tower of strength. It often brings mum and daughter closer together.
"That happened with a schoolgirl I saw recently who was 22 weeks pregnant and asked me to go and tell her mum while she was at school. After the initial shock and lots of tears, her mum was just concerned about getting her looked after.
"Girls who are going through a secret pregnancy now can ring me in complete confidence on my mobile and make an appointment to come in. If they are in a situation like Faye, where labour has started, they can ring our Access Service who will direct them here or they can just come direct to our hospital - or their local hospital - where they will be helped to deliver their baby safely."
*Girls can contact Sue Thompson Monday-Wednesday on 07920 407691 in complete confidence for the teenage pregnancy service at any stage of their pregnancy. If they leave a message Sue will always ring back.
If they sense they are going into labour, the Liverpool Women's Access Service will look after them. If they just turn up at reception in labour, midwives will quickly come down and take over from there.
Numbers for the Access Service are 0151 247 4747 or 0151-702 4328.