Teenage girls who plan to get pregnant do so as a way to improve the quality of their lives, a report has found.
A study published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows girls as young as 13 see motherhood as preferable to working in a low-paid, dead-end job.
Far from the common assumption that teenage pregnancies result from irresponsibility or ignorance about contraception, some young girls actively choose to have a baby as a way to change their life and to gain independence and a new identity.
Although all the girls understood the purpose of contraception, many were not aware that teenagers have high fertility rates, and in some cases had planned to get pregnant after a miscarriage, fearing this could impact on their future prospects of having a family.
Report author Suzanne Cater said: "Highlighting the fact that not all teenage pregnancies are unplanned will help address support needs currently not being met.
"Using teenagers who wish they had delayed parenthood could also help inform young people who may have potentially unrealistic expectations of parenthood."
Dr Lester Coleman, who managed the research project, said: "For the first time the views and experiences of young people who planned their pregnancies are being heard.
"Their accounts will be of great value to those working to reduce teenage pregnancy and those who support young parents."
However, Gill Frances, chairwoman of the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy - a group set up to advise the Government on its teenage pregnancy strategy - said the research ignored some important issues.
She said: "The survey is a relatively small sample of the older bracket of young people, many of whom are in relationships, and this is not typical of the people we are normally dealing with.
"The vast majority of young mothers either don't have partners or are not still with their partners.
"One of the young mothers they have spoken to also has a baby that is only 13 days old.
"Most young mums say they find it relatively easy to look after a small baby, but when the child is two years old they say they didn't realise how hard it would be running round after a toddler."
Ms Frances said the teenage pregnancy rate was coming down and was currently at its lowest rate in 20 years.