British servicewoman gives birth while serving in Afghanistan
Surprise baby ... A servicewoman gave birth days after her camp was attacked by Taliban insurgents.
Military experts have called for pregnancy testing of female soldiers after a British servicewoman gave birth while serving in Afghanistan.
The woman, who is understood to have been unaware of her pregnancy, had a son at Camp Bastion on Tuesday.
It is not military policy to allow servicewomen to deploy on operations if they are pregnant
The Telegraph reported the baby was conceived before the gunner began her six-month tour. She was reportedly in her 34th week of pregnancy when she went into labour.
The birth was reported to have been traumatic, not least because Army medics at the AU$1.55 million field hospital do not have specialist midwifery skills.
The birth occurred just days after the camp was attacked by Taliban insurgents that killed two US Marines.
Both mother and baby are in a stable condition and are due to be flown home in the coming days after a specialist medical team from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford arrives in the Helmand Province base.
An spokesman said, "We can confirm that on September 18 a UK servicewoman serving in Afghanistan gave birth in the Camp Bastion Field Hospital to a baby boy.
"Mother and baby are both in a stable condition in the hospital and are receiving the best possible care.
"A specialist Pediatric Retrieval Team is being prepared and will deploy in the next few days in order to provide appropriate care for mother and baby on the flight home."
The spokesman added, "It is not military policy to allow servicewomen to deploy on operations if they are pregnant. In this instance the MoD was unaware of her pregnancy."
According to The Daily Mail, the woman served as a gunner with the Royal Artillery and had been deployed with the 17th Mechanised Brigade since March.
The newspaper said she only discovered she was pregnant after she went to medics complaining of stomach pains, and the baby was born five weeks premature.
The Telegraph reported on military experts calling for an overhaul of testing of female soldiers who were being sent to the front line to include more rigorous checks, including a simple urine test for pregnancy.
The newspaper said Defence sources had insisted officials did not “test” for pregnancy, arguing it was unlikely a female servicewoman would knowingly volunteer for deployment on active operations while pregnant.