British teachers fear a generation of "Spice babies" among teenage girls who have taken the phenomenally successful pop group as their role models.

Two members of the Spice Girls - Victoria "Posh Spice" Adams and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown - announced last month that they were expecting babies, triggering concern over a wave of copycat pregnancies among teenagers who have fallen for the band's "Girl Power" slogan."Teenage pregnancies (in Britain) are the highest in western Europe. We fear that recent news may lead to a generation of Spice babies born to teenage mothers," said Judith Mullen, president of the secondary schools head teachers' association.

Mullen said the glamour and excitement associated with the Spice Girls - Britain's biggest pop phenomenon since the Beatles - appeared to make pregnancy all the more attractive to girls whose self-esteem is low because they do not shine academically.

Young girls who feel a failure "hope that having a baby will take away feelings of inadequacy by giving them something," Mullen said. Nearly 9,000 girls aged 16 or under get pregnant every year in Britain.

Both of the pregnant Spice Girls are in their early 20s and say they plan to marry their boyfriends in the near future.

News that babies were on their way cast doubt on the long-term future of the four-girl band.