soldier, a gunner in the Royal Artillery who helped provide covering
fire for troops fighting insurgents, was unaware that she was carrying a
child.Woman soldier has baby on the frontline: Doctors sent from the UK as
Army girl - who didn't even know she was pregnant - gives birth after
- Royal Artillery gunner who was deployed with the 12th Mechanised Brigade gives birth to baby five weeks premature
Fijian soldier had passed her pre-deployment training, including an eight-mile march and
five-mile run, without realising she was pregnant[/*]British
Army handbook editor says top brass will need to 'start thinking very,
very carefully' about how female soldiers are tested before deployment
Ian Drury, David Williams and Martin Robinson
17:13 EST, 19 September 2012
08:03 EST, 20 September 2012
The birth has stunned military chiefs and led to calls for extra medical checks on women who are sent to the warzone.
200 troops have discovered they were pregnant at war since 2003 –
forcing commanders to send them straight back to Britain. But this is
the first time a UK soldier has given birth to a baby in Afghanistan.
She had been deployed with the 12th Mechanised Brigade since March, but two days ago complained of severe stomach pains.
PREGNANCY AND THE ARMED FORCES - Q&A
Can you be pregnant on the front line?
MoD says that nobody can be deployed on operations if they are pregnant
and if they fall pregnant or are found to be pregnant on tour then they
will be sent home immediately.
If they are at sea then they will be taken to the nearest port and sent home.
As soon as they get back their duties until maternity leave starts will ensure they are kept healthy and safe.
Are there pregnancy tests carried out before tours?
testing of this kind does not happen on the basis that they believe a
person would not knowingly go on tour when they are pregnant. Personnel
have hearing, eyesight and blood tests, as well as BMI measurements, but
no pregnancy test at the moment. Although this new case may increase
the pressure for one.
What if they are on active service in the UK?
pregnant woman can remain in the job up until the 28th week of
pregnancy then they must stand down. She will be medically assessed and
must have another one before she returns to work.When can they return to front line duties?
servicewoman will be sent a warzone until at least six months after
they have given birth, unless they volunteer - but this still may be
subject to certain conditions.
To her astonishment, medics informed her that she was about to give birth.
She was in the 34th week of her pregnancy, meaning she conceived before flying to Afghanistan for her six-month tour of duty.
was taken to Camp Bastion’s £10million field hospital where doctors –
who are more used to carrying out amputations and treating bullet
wounds – delivered her son. Despite
its location, the hospital is one of the best equipped in the world and
has portable X-ray machines, an operating theatre, CAT scanner and an
intensive care unit capable of treating up to 20 seriously-ill patients.A
military source said: ‘This has left us completely gobsmacked. You
prepare yourself for dealing with war wounded at Bastion – not a mother
giving birth to a baby. It is the talk of the camp.‘This
is a very unusual case. The mother deployed not realising she was
pregnant and had no idea she was pregnant until she gave birth. She has
not done anything wrong.’Lieutenant
Colonel Andrea Lewis, commanding officer of the field hospital, said:
‘This is a unique occurrence, but my team is well-rehearsed in the
unexpected and they adapted brilliantly to this situation.‘I am pleased to report the mother and baby are doing well and we are all delighted at the outcome.’
Fijian soldier had passed her tough pre-deployment training, which
included a gruelling eight-mile march and five-mile run, without an
inkling that she was pregnant.A
senior Army insider said: ‘It is bizarre that she didn’t feel some side
effects of the pregnancy. She is obviously pretty fit and strong. The
strains and demands on soldiers working on the frontline make it
surprising she didn’t realise.
'But the conditions of deployment, the
different diet, the heat of the Afghan summer, the different hours of
working, mean that many soldiers feel a little odd and put it down to
the change of environment.‘The
baby’s successful delivery is a wonderful testament to the outstanding
job the medics do here. It shows how they can use their extraordinary
skills to turn their hands from saving lives to delivering babies.
lot of the medics are reservists and work in hospitals back in the UK
so the concept of someone giving birth is not completely alien to them.
But they do not have paediatric equipment here so they had to make do as
best they could.Major Charles Heyman, who edits the
British Army handbook, said the incident was ‘astonishing’. He said:
‘Commanders need to start thinking very, very carefully about what sort
of medical examinations female soldiers have before they deploy on
operations. 'A simple urine test would indicate if someone was pregnant. The Army now needs to tighten up its procedures.’
2003 at least 70 British servicewomen have been sent home from
Afghanistan after discovering they were expecting. And at least 102
female soldiers were evacuated from Iraq after it was found they were
pregnant.Last year the Mail
told how Private Kayla Donnelly, then 21, from Penrith, Cumbria, served
in Helmand unaware that she was seven months’ pregnant.She
had conceived before going to Afghanistan as a machine-gunner and
thought her weight gain was due to high-calorie Army rations. It was
only when she collapsed in Tenerife after her tour of duty that she
realised she was pregnant.Around
500 British women are currently on duty in Afghanistan. They can serve
in any unit except those whose primary role is to ‘close with and kill’
– engage in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.Eight
women have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, two per cent of the total
fatalities. They include Corporal Sarah Bryant, 26, from Carlisle,
serving with the Army Intelligence Corps, who was killed in an explosion
in Afghanistan in 2008, and Second Lieutenant Joanna Dyer, 24, from
Yeovil, a friend of Prince William and also of the Army Intelligence
Corps, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.
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