One Born Every Minute

Episode Guides

A ground-breaking look at the drama and emotion of a maternity unit, from the perspective of the parents-to-be and the maternity ward staff

About the Show

A ground-breaking look at the drama and emotion of a maternity unit, from the perspective of the parents-to-be and the maternity ward staff

Series 4 Summary

The fourth series records the highs, the lows and new lives beginning on two busy labour wards in Leeds: Leeds General Infirmary and St. James's Hospital.

  • Episode 1

    Stacey is expecting her second child, but it's her first with her husband, Lee. Stacey is desperate to give birth but every time she thinks she's in labour, it turns out to be a false alarm and the hospital send her home.

    The toing and froing gets frustrating for Lee, who admits he had a troubled past until he met Stacey, who 'saved him'.

    When Ramona last gave birth it was by an emergency C-section. This time, she wants to give birth naturally, with her husband Marvin by her side, but when she goes into labour, Marvin is half-way down the M1.

    Meanwhile, the hospital is promoting 'active birth' and trainee yoga instructor Sara wholeheartedly embraces the idea. Sara endured a long induction during her last birth and this time round she's determined to make the birth 100% natural, with her easy-going partner Billy by her side.

  • Episode 2

    Expectant mum Sam, who's 23, is covered in tattoos, loves heavy metal and keeps a pet snake. As a teenager, she went off the rails, arguing with her mum every day, drinking and stealing money, before running away from home and ending up sleeping rough.

    Later, Sam met her long-haired lover Biaggio, who's 24, at the ice-skating rink and had a one night stand but soon discovered their bond went deeper.

    Biaggio says Sam's mum is like the Duracell bunny, and he's grateful for her never-ending energy when things get tough in the delivery room.

    Claire, who's 20, and Clint, who's 23, met in a nightclub in Leeds. They both admit they're very shy but the drink did the talking. A few days later, they went to the cinema together and Claire kept the tickets in a scrapbook because she's 'soppy like that'.

    Since then, she says they've been inseparable... until they split up, which was when Claire found out she was pregnant. It was all a massive shock to Claire's mother, who couldn't hide her disappointment.

    Claire always knew she wanted her mum to be at the birth because she's her 'rock,' but deciding whether Clint should be there wasn't as easy.

  • Episode 3

    Two strong-willed first-time mums give birth at Leeds General Infirmary.

    Alexandra is 25, prefers to be called Sasha and is fiercely independent. She's naming her baby boy 'Rupert' after the actor Rupert Everett 'because he's so handsome.'

    She left her native Latvia in search of adventure and ended up in Leeds. The baby's father isn't in the picture any more and Sasha wants to go it alone. Although her family are worried about her being so far away, she believes this baby is the missing piece in her life.

    Surbhi is from the warrior Hindu caste and knows what she wants. Her husband, Kaushik, who's from a caste of philosophers, will do anything to please her.

    They met when she heard him singing in the shower in the flat downstairs. He was 20 minutes late for their first date and he has never quite made up for it.

    More seriously, he feels responsible for a motorcycle accident that left Surbhi paralysed in one arm, so the baby promises a fresh beginning for them both.

  • Episode 4

    This episode meets two very different romantic couples and two dads from tough upbringings who want a better life for their sons.

    William, who's 26, met 24-year-old Belem through the internet and it was love at first sight. But she was living 5000 miles away in Mexico so their courtship was conducted from a distance until they married and moved to Britain.

    William's mother haemorrhaged and died while giving birth to his baby sister. His family lived in rural Colombia without access to maternity care and his childhood memory of that traumatic day still haunts him.

    Nevertheless he disguises it well and the couple are buzzing with excitement when they arrive on the maternity ward. William shoots a video, with a running commentary in Spanish, for their families on the other side of the Atlantic.

    Dan, who's 24, met 22-year-old Kerry five years ago and they both admit that their first date was a disaster. They have what they call a 'Kerry and Dan' kind of love, expressed through banter and digs at each other.

    What they lack in romance they make up for in practicality. Kerry has prepared 84 colour co-ordinated baby outfits; each washed and ironed four times.

    She says that if she isn't fully prepared for something she panics; but when their baby's heart rate drops in labour, it's Dan who starts to worry.

  • Episode 5

    Midwife Linda Abbott returns to Leeds General. A year after retiring she realised she missed working at the hospital, and the hospital missed her! She may be an 'old bird' but she has years of experience.

    Two dads with extremely different bedside manners are in the maternity wards in this episode.

    Joel dotes on his wife Rachel and wants there just to be the two of them in the delivery room.

    Rachel and Joel's first son was born prematurely and died 25 days later. It's not something they can forget and their anxieties build with each day on the labour ward.

    Meanwhile, Chris admits that he doesn't have a clue what to do in his role as birth partner. Hayley and Chris are expecting their first son together. Hayley already has two children but this is Chris's first experience of fatherhood.

    He's particularly apprehensive because he associates hospitals with a serious road traffic accident he had years ago. Unfortunately, his attempts to use humour to deal with his nerves don't always go down well in the delivery room...

  • Episode 6

    There's a nationwide baby-boom in September and the midwives at the Leeds General Infirmary are run off their feet.

    When their unit is full they often send the overspill to St. James' Hospital across the city and vice versa, which means a last-minute change in birth plans for some mums.

    Twenty-one-year-old Natalie met Shane, who's 39, when he turned up as her taxi driver on the school run and now they're expecting their first child together. Natalie was only 14 when she first gave birth and that was without a partner.

    This time she wants everything to be different but the maternity unit at St. James' is full so she is transferred across the city to the LGI.

    Meanwhile, Kate and David are booked in for a planned caesarean and are both nervous.

    They have to wait for hours due to the volume of emergency cases going to theatre and Kate becomes extremely anxious.

    And Rachel is due to have her baby at the LGI but gets diverted to St. James' when the maternity unit becomes full.

    It's Rachel's first baby, but she's separated from her Egyptian husband, so her mother will be the one providing support.

  • Episode 7

    Katie and Jonathan were 'separated' when Katie found out that she was pregnant. She didn't have his phone number, so she sent him a Facebook message to tell him.

    They were reunited 12 weeks later, at the first scan. At that moment Jonathan realised he wanted to be a good dad, especially because when he was a child his father wasn't around much and he wants to behave differently.

    Nicole is admitted with a significant bleed. Her mum had hoped Nicole would have her own home and be in a stable relationship before she started a family, but that was not to be, so together they're preparing to bring up her baby at home.

    Although Nicole is still friends with her baby's father, he won't be at the birth.

    Jolanta is known to have quick deliveries, and when she arrives at hospital hoping for a water-birth for her third baby, the midwives race to fill the bath before her baby's born.

  • Episode 8

    Two couples prove that unplanned pregnancies can happen at very different ages.

    Andy, who's 41, and Nina, who's 39, thought they'd left nappies and sleepless nights behind long ago.

    With their children Danielle, who's 14, and Lewis, who's 10, becoming increasingly independent, they'd just started to get their own lives back again: going out, holidaying and enjoying life.

    They all got the shock of their lives when Nina announced she was pregnant with twins.

    The kids were initially appalled that their parents could be so irresponsible but soon embrace the idea of baby siblings and cheer their mum up with fun and games while she waits for her Caesarean.

    Jonathan, who's 21, met 18-year-old Laura when he randomly sent her a message on a social networking site. Three months later she fell pregnant.

    While Laura panicked, Jonathan was delighted: starting a family has been his sole ambition since the age of ten.

    Having developed gestational diabetes, Laura is booked in for an early induction and the couple prepare for a long wait.

    Jonathan gets on Laura's nerves with his almost constant chatter but when their baby's heartbeat drops and Laura is rushed to theatre, Jonathan's joking around is quickly replaced by overwhelming concern.

  • Episode 9

    This edition features two couples who have stuck together despite the challenges life has thrown at them.

    Ryan (20) started dating Keely (22) when they were both at school, but to their shock Keely fell pregnant very quickly. They are now expecting their second child together, proving that teen pregnancies don't always end in disaster. Gail Wright, Leeds General Infirmary's most experienced midwife and Head of Delivery, is on hand to help Keely when she goes into labour and get her through the pain barrier.

    Katie (27) says she is the grown up in the relationship and her fiancé Steve (29) is like a child. In the delivery suite, Steve is on form constantly mucking about and generally driving Katie up the wall. His jokes mask their shared anxiety about their baby's congenital condition called gastroschisis which means the baby will be born with its intestines on the outside of its abdominal wall and will require surgery a few hours later.

  • Episode 10

    Leah is having her sixth baby but unfortunately her partner is in prison and will miss the birth. Meanwhile, Becky met Police Sergeant John one Halloween when he was dressed as a witch and it was love at first sight.

    Within weeks they were engaged and trying for the child they'd both always wanted. Becky's life had been ruled by depression and a string of failed relationships, and she was beginning to think she'd never be a mum.

    By the time they arrive on the labour ward, Becky and John know exactly what to expect. They've been to all the classes and planned their active birth and are desperate to meet baby Luke, who they're naming after their Star Wars hero.

    Sophie and Martin are best friends whose drunken kiss blossomed into a five-year relationship and a surprise pregnancy. While it's Sophie's first child, Martin has been through it all before and has an eight-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

    Sophie's desperate for them to have a baby of their own to bring them closer together and to experience the love of being someone's natural mum.

    Sophie was too anxious to read up about childbirth so when she comes into the delivery suite, she has no idea what lies in store. Fortunately, Martin's experience and sense of humour are there to support Sophie through a long and difficult labour.

  • Episode 11

    Naomi, who's 32, and Jason, who's 37, have known each other since they were teenagers and have had an on-off relationship over the years.

    Now that Naomi is pregnant, Jason says it's changed their relationship and they're committed to a stable partnership.

    But there's another woman in Naomi's life: her mother Maria, who Naomi describes as a 'goddess' and who lives next door to Naomi.

    Being glamorous is very important to Naomi and she arrives to give birth wearing false eyelashes and full make-up.

    Meanwhile, Bianca discovered she was pregnant a couple of days after her 22nd birthday and was 'gobsmacked'.

    She wasn't sure whether to carry on having fun or settle down but finally decided to buck her ideas up and have the baby even though the father wouldn't be involved.

    Her sister Tanya says Bianca won't be a single mum because she'll have her to help.

    And Shannon met Dale on a Saturday night out in Leeds. They were both 17 when Shannon told people they were having a baby.

    She remembers that 'people said we were too young and it wouldn't work' but she and Dale are happy together, although Shannon has some regrets about not going to university and Dale says he wants to join the navy in five years.

  • Episode 12

    Dawn, who experienced a traumatic birth when her first child arrived in the last series of One Born Every Minute, returns to have a second baby, with the memories of her difficult time in the same Leeds operating theatre still fresh in her mind.

    Kirri, who's 29, met 30-year-old Brendan when they were both working at Butlins. She says 'all women have a plan'; hers was to get a job at Butlins in order to find a man.

    Nine years later she and Brendan are having their second child and are still very much in love. They have such a light-hearted approach to life that Kirri manages without pain relief and laughs her way through her contractions.

    Shannon, who's 34 and from Detroit, fell in love with England as a teenager when she started reading biographies of The Beatles.

    When she met Chris, who's 51 and from Doncaster, on the internet, her father - a Vietnam veteran and former marine - hired private detectives to check Chris out. Chris must have got the all-clear because they are now married and having their second child.

    But they're worried that Chris may miss the birth because they don't have any family nearby and have no one else to look after their 20-month-old daughter Celia while Mum is in labour.

  • Episode 13

    Hayley and Pete's baby has a diaphragmatic hernia: an extremely rare, life-threatening condition that occurs in one in 2200 births.

    A diaphragmatic hernia is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, which can allow parts of the stomach, spleen, liver and intestines to go up into the chest cavity, restricting the development of the lungs.

    Hayley says the uncertainty has left her and Pete unable to plan for their baby's future. Newborns with diaphragmatic hernia often have severe respiratory difficulty, which can be life-threatening.

    Left-sided CDH has a mortality rate of 40 to 62%, but this increases dramatically if the hernia is on the right side. By the time Hayley and Pete learned that their baby's hernia was on the right side they felt they couldn't terminate the pregnancy.

    Remarkably the couple laugh and joke through Hayley's labour. Until the baby is born it's relatively safe but once it's born it has to breathe for itself and that's when it is most vulnerable.

    Hayley knows the most difficult time will come straight after birth, when her baby will be most at risk. Everyone is praying for a miracle.

    Diaphragmatic hernia is an extremely rare type of hernia that occurs in only one in every 2200 births. It shouldn't be confused with other, more common types of hernia.

    The charity CDH UK offers support and information. They can be contacted on freephone 0800 731 6991 and at

  • Episode 14

    One expectant couple have faith beyond the hospital staff, while another dad-to-be is in danger of missing out on the big moment.

    Judith, who's 28, and her husband Mike, who's 31, met when they were kids. Mike had always assumed Judith was out of his league until they met up again after university at a friend's party.

    Pharmacist Judith is a self-confessed control freak and perfectionist but pregnancy has made her feel 'out of control'. Mike, on the other hand, is so laid back he's 'practically horizontal'.

    One thing they have in common is their belief in Christianity and when things don't go to plan in the delivery room, the couple put their faith in God as well as the medical staff.

    Meanwhile, 17-year-old Beth met Dominic, who's 22, by chance in McDonalds and was immediately attracted to the fact that 'he talked about everything and wouldn't shut up!'

    Their relationship developed fast and, without planning it, Beth fell pregnant. Dominic becomes more and more anxious as the labour develops and he paces around like a 'blue horsefly'.

    Beth was brought up by her dad and her grandma Sandra, who has vowed not to leave Beth's side at the birth, which is just as well because when the all-important moment arrives, Dad is having a nervous smoke in the car park...

One Born Every Minute synopsis

A ground-breaking look at the drama and emotion of a maternity unit, from the perspective of the parents-to-be and the maternity ward staff

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5 Series, 51 Episodes

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