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Woman had to give birth at home without medical assistance because there were no beds at NHS hospital

Gabriella Ferlita

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman had to give birth at home without medical assistance because there were no beds at NHS hospital

Featured Image Credit: Solent News

A woman had to give birth at home without medical assistance because there were no beds available at an NHS hospital.

Angharad Woolley gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Esmae, in her living room in the middle of the night with the help of her husband Paul.

The 41-year-old was overdue with her pregnancy at 40 weeks and four days pregnant and was waiting for an appointment from QA Hospital in Portsmouth, Hants so that her labour could be induced.

However, the couple claimed they ‘couldn’t get an induction’ appointment after being told the maternity ward was full with no beds to accommodate Angharad.

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Angharad Woolley gave birth to a healthy baby girl with the help of her husband Paul. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency
Angharad Woolley gave birth to a healthy baby girl with the help of her husband Paul. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency

The mother-of-two said: "I was scared. We couldn't get an induction. We were waiting another week until 42 weeks. We had to wait until she came along naturally."

But Angharad and Paul’s baby decided to make a surprise appearance without the need for an induction, after just over a two-hour long labour.

Angharad, from Cowplain, Hampshire - around five miles from QA Hospital - started having contractions at home at 2.37 am, having woke up thinking she needed the toilet.

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Her husband called the NHS Labour Line, who told them to head to a hospital.

Paul said: "We got her downstairs. We started to go out the door. By that time she walked out the door and two seconds later, she was turning straight back in and saying, 'it’s too late, it’s coming'.

"She walks back in and my parents have arrived because they were looking after my son. We were going to get in the car as soon as they arrived.

"They said they'd send an ambulance out as soon as they can get one free."

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Angharad added: "I thought the baby was going to arrive and fall on the concrete outside as we were getting in the car. I came straight back in."

While Paul was on the phone with the midwife, he saw baby Esmae’s head ‘pop out’ while the family were in the living room.

The 41-year-old was overdue at 40 weeks and four days pregnant and was waiting for an induction appointment from QA Hospital in Portsmouth. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency
The 41-year-old was overdue at 40 weeks and four days pregnant and was waiting for an induction appointment from QA Hospital in Portsmouth. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency

He said: "[Esmae] sort of fell into my hands onto the pillow. My mum dived over and tried to grab her and give her to Aggie."

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Angharad gave birth to Esmae, weighing 7lb and 8oz, just 18 minutes before an ambulance crew arrived. 

During the ‘unassisted birth on arrival’, the second-time mother delivered their baby without gas and air or any other pain relief - prompting paramedics and midwives to be in disbelief.

Paul said when Angharad was taken to the hospital for postnatal care, they hadn’t seen a case like hers in over 22 years.

"When she was wheeled in with the baby, the midwives couldn't believe it,” Paul admitted.

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A spokesperson at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, in charge of QA Hospital, commented on its care of pregnant patients.

The couple claimed they ‘couldn’t get an induction’ after being told the maternity ward was full. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency
The couple claimed they ‘couldn’t get an induction’ after being told the maternity ward was full. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency

They said: "Pregnant people are asked to contact the Labour Line when they believe they are in labour.

"The Labour Line covers the Hampshire area and will direct people to the nearest hospital that has a maternity bed available.

"Pregnant people will always be cared for at their nearest hospital where possible, but when there are occasions where a hospital is full, care may be provided at another hospital in the area and further travel may be required.

"Whilst we do try to accommodate home births where possible, this is always dependent on being able to provide safe care at home and also in the hospital.

"No pregnant people are turned away from maternity care."

Topics: Real Life, Life, Parenting, Health, NHS

Gabriella Ferlita
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