A ninth standard girl in western India recently gave birth to a child though she had taken an emergency contraceptive pill.
Both the young mother and her baby boy were doing well when last seen in a hospital in Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat. She and her family have since gone underground, apparently fearing complications and social stigma. Perhaps they would find ways of getting rid of the unwanted baby and piece together their life again.
But the incident highlights both the vulnerability of Indian girls and need for proper sex education, experts point out.
She told the doctors who attended on her that she had no clue that she was pregnant. Possibly because she was plump, she couldn't even discern why her tummy had swollen.
She also revealed that she had popped an emergency contraceptive pill within three days of unprotected sex with her lover.
"It is possible that she took the pill later than advised. It may also be that she indulged in sex later thinking the protection was for a prolonged period," said gynaecologist Dr Rajal Thaker.
Medical literature generally advises, "If you have unprotected sex and you don't want to get pregnant, you need to take the first dose of emergency pills within 120 hours (five days), but it is more effective the earlier you take it."
Dr Thaker said there was dire need for re-introducing compulsory sex education in schools, which was recently scrapped by the Gujarat government following protests from certain sections.
"The case also shows the complete breakdown in communication in nuclear families where parents do not even notice for nine months that their daughter is pregnant," Dr Thaker told the Times of India.
Dr Supriya Dalal, another gynaecologist, says she gets at least two-three such cases every year where the teenaged girls are five to six months pregnant with neither the girl nor her parents having any inkling about it!