The award-winning and hugely popular One Born Every Minute is back with a new 14-part series. This series, cameras have been recording life on not just one, but two busy labour wards in the city of Leeds - The Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and St. James's Hospital. This year the LGI's maternity ward has frequently been forced to close to new admissions. Expectant mums are then sent to St James's across the city and sometimes vice versa.
Our cameras follow mums between the two hospitals as the midwives juggle the load and do all they can to stop the whole city closing its doors to mums in labour. The rise mirrors a boom across the country; national statistics suggest that the recession has not dampened our desire for babies - quite the opposite. For the midwives, it feels more like one born every 30 seconds than every minute. Luckily for the mums and dads of Leeds, the rise is met by the enduring good humour of the Yorkshire midwives who look for a silver lining even when it just seems to be raining babies. And when there isn't a silver lining, there's always tea and cake.
The midwifery team is made up of old favourites and new faces. Straight-talking Gail Wright continues to run a tight ship and welcomes back former colleague and old friend Linda Abbott, who - despite retiring last year, simply can't stop delivering babies. Linda imparts her knowledge to the new midwives coming up the ranks such as lovely Lucy and mum-to-six, Perdi. But knowledge goes both ways and 61-year-old Linda has to get to grips with new systems and new birth trends like every other midwife on the team. The biggest trend taking the delivery suite by storm is ‘Active Birth'. After the delivery of a rope swing, there's a big push among some of the midwives to promote the concept of birth without a bed; but for a lot of mums (and their partners), the whole idea seems pretty bizarre - cue a lot of head-scratching and bewildered looks.
As on every delivery suite in the country, the midwives support families through the very best and worst of birth experiences. From the relationship strains caused by labour pains to the worries in neo-natal. This new series -more than ever before - does not shy away from the realities of birth and enters unchartered territory with the sensitive representation of parental loss. And as always, what triumphs with every birth story is the emotional power of the moment when new life begins, and the love it generates.
Production company: Dragonfly
Executive producer: Peter Moore
Series director: Emily Smith
Series producer: Dominique Foster