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Life changed quickly for schoolgirl mum
The West Australian

Ellen Taylor was still a few years from getting her driver's licence, finishing school and being allowed into nightclubs when she experienced her first bout of morning sickness.

The lingering feeling of nausea soon set off alarm bells and, within a few days, the Helena Valley teenager decided it was time to take a pregnancy test.

"It was about a week after my birthday and at first it was pretty tricky to deal with being 15 and pregnant," she said.

A few months into her pregnancy, Ellen turned to King Edward Memorial Hospital for help in becoming the best mother possible.

Each year, about 115 girls aged between 13 and 17 are referred to the hospital's adolescent clinic for pregnant teenagers.

The clinic provides care to teenagers who are experiencing their first pregnancy and aims to promote a physically and emotionally safe birthing experience.

Those who take part in the program are connected with various midwives, including those who provide home support, as well as doctors, social workers and clinical psychologists.

Ellen, 16, said the program provided young mothers with vital support and reassurance before and after their child was born.

Since the birth of her daughter Anna six months ago, Ellen has returned to school and has set her sights on university.

She said though being a teen mum was challenging, she was lucky to have the support of her family, friends and school.

"Now that I have got Anna, I am a bit more determined to make something of myself because she needs me to," she said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of babies born to teenage mothers dropped from 12,932 in 2008 to 11,420 last year.

Adolescent clinic co-ordinating midwife Marie Speering said it was vital for young mothers to be linked back into education services after the birth of their child.

She said while the rate of teen pregnancies might be falling, mothers were now facing "far more complex" social and mental health issues.