UK soldier gives birth in Afghanistan

2012-09-20 17:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A British soldier has given birth to a son while serving in Afghanistan at the same camp where Prince Harry is deployed and a Taliban attack last week killed two US Marines.

The birth in a combat zone field hospital is thought to be the first ever case of its type for Britain's military.

The Fijian national, a gunner with the Royal Artillery, delivered the child on Tuesday at Camp Bastion, the major British base in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, which last week suffered a major attack in which two US marines were killed and six American fighter jets destroyed.

Britain's defence ministry said on Thursday that it had not been aware the soldier was pregnant, and stressed that it does not allow female soldiers to deploy on operation if they are pregnant. It declined to say whether the soldier, who has not been named, was aware of her pregnancy.

"Mother and baby are both in a stable condition in the hospital and are receiving the best possible care," the ministry said in a statement. It said a team of doctors would fly out to Afghanistan in the coming days to help the solider and her son return safely to Britain.

The woman had deployed to Afghanistan in March, meaning her child was conceived before her tour of duty began.

Camp Bastion, which hosts the US Camp Leatherneck, is home to the most of Britain's 9 500 soldiers in Afghanistan, including Prince Harry - who arrived there earlier this month to serve as an attack helicopter gunner.

"This sort of thing makes life difficult for everyone else, but the important thing is the welfare of the female soldier. This could have gone wrong and we don't know if the attack on Camp Bastion might have forced the birth," said Major Charles Heyman, a retired soldier and author of The British Army Guide.

Heyman said it may have been "that the excitement of the tour masked the symptoms of the pregnancy".

Not obvious

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, a British parenting charity, also suggested the soldier's demanding duties could explain why she either didn't know she was pregnant or attempted to ignore the signs.

"It could be that she was so very focused on other things, and because she was in a life-or-death scenario, that she simply didn't recognize that she was pregnant," Phipps said.

Phipps said the pregnancy may not have been obvious to the soldier's colleagues. "Not everyone has a very big baby bump, some women carry their baby far inside," she said.

Patrick O'Brien, a consultant obstetrician at University College London Hospital, said cases of unexpected pregnancies were unusual but that he encountered at least one each year.

"There are some women who have very irregular periods, often women who are very fit and exercise a lot. There are women who don't have sickness during pregnancy. Some women - particularly those who are overweight - don't recognize they have put on weight, or feel the baby moving," O'Brien said.

Many cases involved women who refuse to accept that they were pregnant and attempted to disguise it, particularly young women living at home.

"It's not just that they hide the pregnancy from their parents, they often become in denial of the pregnancy," he said.

"If you have a combination of any or all of those things, a pregnancy can go undetected, or the woman can be in denial of it if the implications to their life are so great," said O'Brien, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist.

A 2002 survey of Berlin hospitals between 1995 and 1996 found that about 1 in 475 pregnancies were either undetected or denied. About 40% of the women had seen a doctor while they were pregnant, who also failed to detect the signs.

- AP

Read more on:    afghanistan  |  uk  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.