A FIJIAN soldier serving in the British Army gave birth without an inkling she was pregnant days after the Taliban launched a deadly attack on the British base in Helmand, Afganistan.
The Royal Artillery gunner, who was deployed with the 12th Mechanised Brigade two days ago, complained of severe stomach pains and was rushed to the army’s state-of-the-art hospital at Camp Bastion.
According to the Daily Mail which quoted senior British Army officials, the woman — whose identity has not been released — gave birth to a baby boy five weeks premature.
Doctor James Fong, the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s head of maternity, said this would be possible if women did not acknowledge they were pregnant.
“I’ve had a few patients who only came to find out they were pregnant when they visited the hospital because of severe bleeding,” Dr Fong said.
Major Jim Hall, the British Army’s support officer at the British High Commission in Suva, said details on the woman’s health would be released today.
The Fijian woman was in the 34th week of her pregnancy, meaning she conceived before flying to Afghanistan for her six-month tour of duty.
The gunner — whose role was to provide covering fire to troops fighting insurgents in Helmand, where Fijian soldier Duane Groom was killed at the weekend — had passed her pre-deployment training, including an eight-mile march and five-mile run, without realising she was pregnant.
It was the first time doctors at Camp Bastion, who are more accustomed to carrying out amputations and treating bullet wounds, delivered a baby of a soldier in battle. A paediatric team from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford will travel to Afghanistan in the next few days to provide care for the soldier and her son on their RAF flight home.
The birth has stunned military chiefs and led to calls for extra medical checks on women who are sent to the war zone.
About 200 troops have discovered they were pregnant at war since 2003. They were sent straight back to Britain.