NEW systems are in place at hospital minor injury units after a woman who did not know she was pregnant gave birth to a premature baby in her bathroom at home.

Rebecca Edwards from Ludlow, believed it was “near impossible” for her to conceive due to a polycystic ovary condition and an operation that she had had as a teenager.

But in the early hours of August 11, 2011, Rebecca was woken by severe stomach pains and gave birth to a 15-week premature baby boy.

But Jake Edwards- Ledbrook, who weighed only 850 grams, tragically died shortly afterwards at Hereford County Hospital, despite the attempts of paramedics from Leominster and Craven Arms to save him.

At an inquest into his death last week, Rebecca said she had been “in and out” of the doctors’ surgery in the months beforehand to get help for headaches and back aches.

The night Jake was born she felt “something wrong” and went to the minor injuries unit at Ludlow Community Hospital with her partner Ken.

A staff nurse, who telephoned an out of hours Shropdoc doctor for advice, told Rebecca she might be suffering from a prolapsed cervix and needed to see her GP in the “next couple of days”.

Hours later, she gave birth to baby Jake at home.

“I was frightened,” said Rebecca, speaking at the inquest at Hereford Town Hall last week.

“I went to the MIU because I didn’t know what was wrong. I went to seek professional help because I thought they could help. That’s what they do.”

Rebecca said the pain that woke her was so strong she “thought she could rip the door off its hinges”.

The inquest also heard that, following an internal investigation, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust has decided to introduce new protocols.

Staff at the minor injury units now offer pregnancy tests to all woman of childbearing age who come in with signs of abdominal or gynaecological pain.

The trust also uses the nationally recognised Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation tool to ‘improve communication’ between health professionals and Shropdoc.

At the inquest, Herefordshire’s deputy coroner Roland Wooderson spoke to paramedics who attended Rebecca’s flat in Dun Cow Road, Ludlow. He heard how Ludlow-based midwives struggled to find the address.

He then spoke to the staff nurse and read statements from the Shropdoc doctor who took the call that night.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Wooderson said that baby Jake had died of extreme prematurity.