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Help for pregnant teenagers extended

PREGNANT teenagers are to be given more support to give their babies a "healthier start to life".

Expectant mothers aged 19 or under will be visited by a nurse every couple of weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of the baby's life, under a Government scheme.

The Family Nurse Partnership operates in seven health board areas and is to be extended to NHS Forth Valley and NHS Grampian next year, with the number of places on the programme increasing in Greater Glasgow and Fife.

Under the scheme, nurses support mothers in child development, preventative health, parenting skills, breastfeeding and are given advice on diet, education and employment.

The scheme is the brainchild of David Olds, Professor of Paediatrics at University of Colorado, who found it improved prenatal health and increased mothers' uptake of employment.

The Scottish Government said it costs around £3000 per mother per annum, with support typically lasting two-and-a-half years and more than 1600 pregnant women able to take part.

Since 2010, £8.6 million has been invested in the programme, with further plans to increase capacity to 2000 young mothers by 2015.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "It's important we are getting it right for every child."

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