Ahhhhh yes, the old "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" gag—a stalwart of soft-focus TLC reenactments, prom bathrooms, and, now, the war in Afghanistan. Good one, secret baby! The legion of women who've lived through the trauma of unexpected childbirth grew by one this week, when a Royal Artillery gunner stationed in Helmand province began complaining of stomach pains. Her indigestion turned into a little miracle when stealth baby popped his head out and was all, "Haaaaaaaayyyyyyy!"
Though the baby was born five weeks premature, he and his mother are currently in stable condition and will be escorted home by "a specialist paediatric team from Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital." Best of luck to them after what must have been an excruciatingly stressful surprise.
BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said it was the first time a British soldier had given birth on the front line although up to 200 servicewomen had been sent home since 2003 from Iraq and Afghanistan when it was discovered they were pregnant.
"Military rules ban pregnant servicewomen from front-line duties, though last year another female British soldier gave birth two weeks after returning from her six-month deployment to Afghanistan," she said.
One woman went through a six-month tour without realising she had been pregnant.
Servicemen and women have pre-deployment medical checks depending on their roles, for example hearing tests, and complete physical fitness tests, such as a five-mile run.
But women are not routinely given pregnancy tests.
For further edification, the BBC has provided a (weird) list of a bunch of other ladies who didn't know they were pregnant. The story usually goes like this: "I didn't know I was pregnant. Then, OOPS." And, of course, there's always the TLC classic (a.k.a. "Why Is My Toilet Crying?"). Personally, I'm hoping that just knowing that it's a possibility to not know you're pregnant will shield me from ever not knowing I'm pregnant. Fingers crossed.