"Bonsai babies" that will fit in the palm of your hand until they are 3 or 4 years old have become the latest designer craze to create a buzz amongst the nation's teenagers. Schoolgirls up and down the country have found out all they need to do to have their very own perfectly stunted and incredibly cute mini-baby is to follow a simple regimen of excessive smoking and drinking until late in their pregnancy, habits many are pursuing with some vigour already.
The new trend, which started life in the US with women who wanted less painful births, and gained fame in the UK thanks to a Facebook page called "We heart bonsai babes", has been slammed by healthcare professionals and parents' groups alike. But young girls including Holly Piggott,19 from Waltham Abbey in Essex, couldn't wait to engineer their very own handbag-sized cherub. "Once I'd seen the photos of those gorgeous little things on Facebook I knew I wanted a teeny tot. I even took up smoking to make absolutely sure my foetus struggled to get the nutrients necessary to develop "normally". I was already drinking heavily and didn't see why I should stop at any point during my pregnancy, and after being told it would help make my unborn child miniaturised I obviously increased my intake."
It appears that a number of respected studies into the harmful effects of alcohol and cigarettes have become bibles for young girls intent on creating their own Lilliputians. As Holly continues, "I'd never been much of a science fan, but me and the baby's father Daryl read a few papers in Nature that suggested it was almost guaranteed to get us the result we wanted. So now I'm really glad we attended that seminar at the hospital."
Not everyone is against the actions of these youngsters, as publican Steve Yardy explained. "I think what these kids are doing should be commended. Our local pubs and clubs are on the floor and they rely on underage drinkers to keep them afloat. If they stop drinking merely because they're pregnant then these vital cornerstones of our community might go under. We're already reeling from the overly-strict drink-driving laws and the bloody smoking ban!"
Teenage parents have found there are other unexpected benefits of the "bonsai baby" epidemic. As Holly revealed, "It even saves you money as the little ones should fit into VAT-exempt clothing well into their twenties."