British soldier in Afghanistan gives birth inside camp
Kabul, Afghanistan (4E) – A British soldier in Afghanistan has given birth to a baby boy at the field hospital of Camp Bastion in Helmand province, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MOD).
The soldier and her baby born prematurely on Tuesday are in stable condition and they will be flown home by a pediatric team with a midwife now going to Afghanistan.
The MOD declined to identify the mother who gave birth but reports said she is of Fijian descent and a gunner in the Royal Artillery, while the baby was born five weeks premature.
Military policy disallows pregnant soldiers to be on the battlefront and those who are so are sent home. But the MOD said the mother was not aware she was pregnant until she felt stomach pains on Tuesday.
It was the first case of a British soldier giving birth while deployed in Afghanistan. There was a case of a British soldier who gave birth upon returning from a six-month duty in Afghanistan last year. Another case was of a woman who did not know she was pregnant during her six-month tour of duty.
The incident has elicited suggestion from a retired British soldier to subject women soldier to pregnancy test before going to battle. The MOD admitted no such test is done as it was unlikely that a pregnant soldier will go to battle in such condition.
Camp Bastion hosts about 9,500 British soldiers, including Royal Air Force pilot Prince Harry. It was the scene of a deadly attack from Taliban insurgents last week. Two U.S. Marines were killed by militants wearing military uniforms and several helicopters were destroyed during the attack.