A father was forced to deliver his own baby because the midwife was too busy, it has been reported.
The country's midwife shortage is being blamed for the events at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in Lancashire.
Emily Baron, 26, started bleeding during labour, but apparently the midwife walked out of the room, leaving her alone with her partner, Thomas Howard, 33.
Mr Howard told the Daily Express: "It was then that I noticed the baby's head coming through.
"I pressed the buzzer to get assistance but nobody came and I decided that I would have to step in.
"It happened quickly and I just had to go with it. The baby was lying at the end of the bed and I was making sure she could breathe when the midwife came back in. I was in shock but she didn't say anything. She just carried on as if it was normal."
Fortunately both the mother and her baby girl, who they have named Madeline, are doing well since the birth last Tuesday.
Ruth Gildert, of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, told the Express: "I apologise to Ms Baron and her partner for the distress they experienced.
"Our midwives supervise all women very closely during labour.
"However there may, on some occasions, be the need to briefly leave the room and a baby can be born unexpectedly quickly.
"As a result of the concerns expressed we will be looking very closely into what happened."
A report last month warned that there was a shortage of maternity staff in some areas of the country, partly due to Britain's rising birth rate.
A spokesman for the National Childbirth Trust told the Express: "Being left alone in labour in hospital is unacceptable. Having a midwife with you when you give birth is vital to ensure that there are no complications."
Sometimes babies are born very quickly and you can see how this could happen - but it must have been terrifying for the parents.
I wonder how common this is. Were you left alone at a crucial moment during labour?
Source: Daily Express
Suggest a correction