By Richard Hartley-parkinson
Last updated at 4:26 PM on 6th October 2011
Twelve British soldiers have been ordered home from Afghanistan after they became pregnant, it has been revealed.
They were sent back to the UK between January and August this year and their pregnancies mark a sharp rise in the number of those finding out they are expecting a child while in combat.
The latest batch of mothers-to-be takes the total number that have returned to the UK to 64 since the war started in 2003.
There has been a rise in the number of women finding out they are pregnant while at war
Last year just ten women found out they were pregnant while in the theatre of war but it is not known how many of the babies were conceived in Afghanistan or the UK.
A source at the Ministry of Defence said: ‘People can be at war for a long time so they have sex with their partner before they go and then they don’t know they’re pregnant until they get out there.’
Sexual relations among troops while at war is frowned upon by the MoD.
While there are no rules relating to sex between two soldiers, troops can be disciplined if their activities undermine operations on the field.
An MOD Spokesperson said: ‘Pregnant women are not allowed to be deployed on operations.
‘The small numbers of personnel who discover that they are pregnant on operations (or at sea) are returned at the first convenient opportunity.
‘The MOD does not encourage or condone sexual relationships in theatre; our personnel are expected to behave in accordance with the Armed Forces values and standards at all times.’
There are 9,500 people deployed in Afghanistan at any one time with estimates of around 18,000 going there over the course of a year.