A SOMERSHAM woman unaware she was pregnant was left in shock when she woke up in the night with stomach pains – and gave birth less than half an hour later.Twenty-two-year-old Joanne Weller, of Loftsteads, is now the proud mum of Madison Grace, who was born in the early hours of May 21.

A SOMERSHAM woman unaware she was pregnant was left in shock when she woke up in the night with stomach pains - and gave birth less than half an hour later.

Twenty-two-year-old Joanne Weller, of Loftsteads, is now the proud mum of Madison Grace, who was born in the early hours of May 21.

Jo, speaking exclusively to The Hunts Post, said she woke up in pain and called for her mum, Valerie, before going to the bathroom.

She explained: "It was quarter to five in the morning when I woke up, with bad pains in my back. I called my mum and she called NHS Direct. They thought I might have a bad kidney infection or appendicitis. They told my mum to take me to A&E, so she went back to her room to get dressed. I went to the loo and just felt like I needed to push. Madison was born at 5.16."

She continued: "By the time mum came back, the baby's head was out. I wondered what on earth was going on. My mum saw the baby's head and told my dad, Pete, to call an ambulance. I sat back down on the toilet and pushed again and out she came, straight down the toilet. We were really lucky that mum hadn't put bleach down the toilet like she does every other night or so."

She continued: "My parents were actually quite calm. I think we were all in shock.

"When the paramedics came in, mum was holding the baby and I was leaning on the toilet, hovering because the umbilical cord was still attached."

A community midwife was also called to Jo's house and she advised that mother and baby go to Hinchingbrooke Hospital to be checked by doctors.

Jo said: "I was just in shock. The paramedics asked if I wanted to carry Madison to the ambulance and I said she wasn't mine. Mum just looked at me and said 'Yes, she is yours.'

"I got to Hinchingbrooke and they took me straight to delivery suite. There were doctors, paediatricians, nurses and midwives - about seven people in total - looking after me and Madison. The nurses said she needed feeding and asked if I had any nappies or clothes. I was completely unprepared and it was only then that it started to sink in that I had just had baby.

"The midwife said she has worked at Hinchingbrooke for six months and I was the fourth concealed pregnancy she had seen."

The doctors said Madison appeared alright but she was kept in for observation for 48 hours. Because Jo had been unaware she was pregnant, she had continued to smoke and drink alcohol. Doctors were concerned that Madison could suffer from foetal alcohol syndrome. However, she was given the all clear and will go back to Hinchingbrooke next month for a check up.

When asked if she felt any guilt about drinking and smoking during the pregnancy, Jo said: "Oh God, yeah, I still do. The doctors gave me some signs to look out for, physical problems, that would be caused by foetal alcohol syndrome but she doesn't have any of those. The midwife and health visitor are both quite happy with her and her progress."

Jo said she found it difficult to bond with her newborn daughter at first, who doctors think was born six weeks early, weighing 6lbs.

She said: "Most mums have nine months to bond with their baby before it gets here but I had to do it all really quickly. I just had to cope. I'm alright now though."

Jo's friends and family rallied round to support the shocked new mum, and when she returned home she had another surprise waiting.

"When I got home, there were three car seats, two Moses baskets, four pushchairs and loads of clothes, nappies, and bottles, everything I needed. Everybody has been really supportive. My parents have been brilliant."

Jo said looking back she still can't see any signs that pointed to the fact that she was pregnant.

"I was working in the Rose and Crown, covering maternity leave for my friend Tara, so if I was tired or had a bad back I put it down to the late nights and moving barrels in the cellar."

Janet Driver, acting deputy head of midwifery at Hinchingbrooke, said the hospital usually sees one case of "concealed pregnancy" a year, which is largely in line with national statistics, where one in 2,500 women don't know they are pregnant until they are in labour. One on 500 women discover they are pregnant after 20 weeks - roughly halfway along.