Posted: Wednesday February 1, 2012 @ 11:05 p.m. PST
Authorities are examining the health a 10-year-old girl who gave birth in Spain last week.
Social workers inspected the home of the girl, who is Romanian, to determine whether her baby is properly cared for, officials said. They would not say what they found, but the town’s mayor called the home “modest.”
The case has shocked Spaniards and created an international sensation – news of the birth went viral on the Internet. But medical professionals have expressed concerns over the young mother’s health, especially since it’s unclear whether she received any medical attention the last few months of her pregnancy.
“A very comprehensive approach to her care needs to be instituted early in her pregnancy,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, a gynecologist who is managing editor of foxnewshealth.com.
The girl’s age places her at significant risk, he said. Officials say she had not seen a doctor before showing up at a hospital last week.
“This is a very high-risk pregnancy because the anatomy of a 10-year-old is not mature,” Alvarez said. “They are at higher risk of hypertension and pelvic trauma and tend to end up having caesarean deliveries because their vaginal anatomy is so immature.”
Leading daily El Pais and other Spanish news media said prosecutors had announced they would investigate whether the parents might be guilty of any negligence if the 10-year-old child was not registered for school or had not received sufficient pre-natal care.
The girl’s mother told reporters earlier this week that she’s delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn’t understand the fuss the birth has caused. She said the baby’s father is a 13-year-old boy who is still in Romania.
She also said since they are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, it is their custom to marry very young. Arranged “marriages” for girls reaching puberty are relatively common among Roma, who make up about 1.5 million of Romania’s 22 million people. Those marriages are not recognized by the state, which requires girls to be 16 and have parental consent before they can marry.
Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, a leading high-risk obstetrician, said this case was not about teen pregnancy, it’s about a pre-teen whose body is not yet built to carry a child.
“Her chest is not extensively developed for breast tissue, her bones aren’t quite fused, and once you expose a child this young to high amounts of progesterone and especially estrogen, there is (a possibility) that it could halt her growth,” Al-khan said.
There are also psychological issues associated with pre-teen pregnancy because a 10-year-old cannot be mentally ready to give birth, Al-Khan said.
“This is heart-wrenching because you have a kid whose mental capacities can’t possibly wrap themselves around what it means to be a mother,” agreed Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor. “There are so many psychological minefields in store for her. Feelings of guilt, feelings of wanting to nurture another human being, and yet this is all very, very complex and intense when she looks to her own family to essentially support, and if you will, father her child.”
The youngest documented case of a child pregnancy was in 1939 in Lima, Peru, Al-Khan said. Lina Medina was six years old when she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby.
The Associated Press contributed to this report