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Virgin births claimed by nearly 1 percent of American women studied

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Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary.

But nearly 1 percent of women also claim to have been virgins when they became pregnant.

Wednesday a study released by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and reported in the Christmas edition of Britain's BMJ medical journal, say one in 200 young moms claims to have given birth while still a virgin.

Researchers say, "Reporting dates of pregnancy and sexual initiation consistent with virgin pregnancy was associated with cultural mores highly valuing virginity, specifically signing chastity pledges, and with parental endorsement of items indicative of lower levels of communication about sex and birth control."

The authors of the published study "Like A Virgin (Mother)" attributed these "scientifically impossible" claims to poor memory, beliefs and wishes; they say these factors can cause people to make mistakes in what they tell scientists.

Researchers at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted interviews with the participants. Forty-five of the 5,340 of the pregnancies in this group happened in women who say that they conceived independent of men.

Researchers found that the self-described virgins who reported having become pregnant and the 36 who gave birth were also more likely than non-virgins to say their parents never or rarely talked to them about sex and birth control, Reuters reported.

Parents of participants reported how much they had talked with their child about sex or birth control, and school administrators reported whether sex education was offered in the respondent's school.

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