Pregnant UK servicewoman: Sympathy for plight

Newborn baby
Image caption The woman only learned she was to give birth when she suffered stomach pains

A British servicewoman is said to be "astonished" after giving birth to a baby boy in Afghanistan without realising she was pregnant.

While some may find it incredible that someone would not notice signs of pregnancy, others with similar experiences have offered sympathy.

Linda, in Hertfordshire, said the same thing happened to her mother in 1966, two days shy of her 45th birthday.

"My mother was a very small lady but rather large around the middle. She always wore an apron which hid her belly, so we were very shocked when she gave birth to a little boy, as was she, no doubt - as she had no idea she was pregnant."

They called the doctor after her mother felt a chest pain as she scrubbed the floor on Easter Monday.

"Fortunately dad and I were at home and were able to get the GP who thrust the stethoscope as far as he could into his ears as he could not believe what he was hearing - the baby's heartbeat. She was admitted to hospital and had a baby boy three hours later.

"I will never forget my dad coming into the room after being with the doctor and my mum, his face so shocked. I asked my dad, 'is mum OK?'. He replied, 'she's going to have a bloody baby!'"

Aged 18, Linda said it was the best day of her life as she had always wanted a baby brother.

Jackie Meadows was almost six months pregnant with her second child when she found out - after almost eight years of trying.

"The funny thing was that I was on a diet at the time and could not understand why I wasn't losing any weight."

She said she was "thrilled to bits" when she gave birth to Paul three months later, weighing 7lb 14 oz.

Mrs Meadows said her periods had been "all over the place," although she had been given some fertility drugs which, 40 years ago, were being used for the first time.

"We had kind of given up hope of having a child really, thinking that it wouldn't happen.

"Things like this do happen. I have sympathy with the female soldier. You don't always know that you are pregnant."

Same jeans

Emily was unaware that she was 34 weeks pregnant until she was rushed into hospital with stomach pains. She was on the pill and said she had no symptoms indicating that she was pregnant.

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Media caption'Emily' found out she was pregnant after suffering stomach cramps.

The then 20-year-old was "stunned" when she went on to give birth to a girl, weighing 9lbs.

"The only thing I can think of was that I had had food poisoning at some point and had thrown up, so this must have affected the effectiveness of the course of contraceptive pills.

"I was also a size 16 - it wasn't like I was tiny anyway. I wore the same jeans right up until I gave birth.

"It's funny, because I now have three daughters and I knew from the start with all of them that I was pregnant."

She has wondered if she had been in denial.

"But I wasn't. If I had known I was pregnant, even if I didn't want to keep it, I would have acted more sensibly and not drunk alcohol."

She decided not to keep the baby - which went to a couple who had been trying for 12 years - but said: "I remember my baby's birthday every year and do still think about her."

Emergency evacuation

Meanwhile, Dawn Sykes from Norwich was in the RAF and was flown home from Afghanistan when she found out that she was pregnant in January 2007 after a visit home at Christmas.

Image caption Dawn Sykes also has a two-year-old son

She went to the doctor as she had been suffering from terrible headaches and had missed her period.

After taking a test, "the nurse got the doctor and she told me the news. She gave me a big hug and said she was thrilled for me. She then panicked and said, 'it is good news, isn't it?'.

"I was treated as an emergency evacuation and was home within five days. I was even driven to the plane in my ambulance. I did feel very guilty as I travelled home with some very badly injured marines and I was going home because of something wonderful."

Her daughter Millie was born in September 2007 and she also has a two-year-old son.

"I am so glad that I had her, and now I have a two-year old son too. We would have probably forgotten to have kids if it hadn't happened."

"I have sympathy for the woman who has just given birth in Afghanistan. There are many different factors that can make you feel ill out there.

"You end up losing weight out there anyway, so she probably had stayed around the same weight and not really thought much of it."

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