Life and Birth

A new BBC One prime-time documentary series that showcases the expertise and compassionate care across our Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust will broadcast to the nation from 8pm on Tuesday 21 April.

The six hour-long episodes of Life and Birth, follow family stories during their pregnancy journeys and the dedicated teams that care for them.

The series, produced by Dragonfly, the team behind the Inside Birmingham Children’s Hospital and One Born Every Minute series, reveals what it really takes to deliver Britain’s next generation, through the eyes of parents and staff working in maternity services across Birmingham.

Filming at our Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, as well as at University Hospitals Birmingham, took place during the autumn of last year.

It showcases what happens in our antenatal clinics and the nationally-renowned Fetal Medicine service, to the delivery suites and emergency operating theatres and meets the incredible people who help the safe and healthy delivery of babies, showing maternity care in a way that it has not been seen before.

From intricate lifesaving surgical procedures on babies in the womb, to specialist care for women who have had multiple miscarriages, to births which go as planned, this programme captures the incredible work of NHS staff dedicated to supporting families as they bring new life into the world.

The series features a range of birth stories, from early scans and pre-term complications in the antenatal clinics to those starting to push on the delivery suite; from emergency caesarean sections in theatre to families in intensive care and in the post-natal ward getting to know their newborns before they head home.

Tune in for a unique glimpse into the services offered to women, children and families.

To join the conversation on the night, make sure you tag your tweets with #LifeandBirth.

If you've missed any of the episodes so far or you would like to watch again you can find them all on the BBC iPlayer series page.


Episode 1 synopsis

The programme goes beyond the labour ward to meet parents at every stage of their pregnancy, capturing the work of midwives, doctors and surgeons dedicated to supporting families as they bring new lives into the world. In the first episode, Channelle wants an intervention free birth, Jodie's baby arrives eight weeks early, and there is joy for Ashleigh after a dramatic delivery.

Episode 2 synopsis

A 22-year-old father-to-be must face his fear of surgery when his partner needs a caesarean section after the baby's heart rate starts to dip. A mother of four boys prepares to give birth to her fifth child, and being an old hand at delivery, soon has a new addition to her brood with no complications. A high-risk pregnancy is closely monitored, and a woman who has been in the hospital for a week is still waiting for the birth of her first baby to begin - but she and her partner are prepared to work as a team when the time comes.

Episode 3 synopsis

In Episode 3, yoga teacher Roo has her heart set on a water birth for her first child but things don’t go to plan and Lewis is determined to be the dad he never had as his girlfriend gives birth.

Episode 4 synopsis

In Episode 4 Melissa eagerly prepares for the arrival of Bertie who has Down’s Syndrome while first time mum Jen worries about her maternal instincts and there’s joy at last for Laura and James.

Episode 5 synopsis

First-time mum Mini is induced three weeks early after experiencing reduced fetal movement, and with concerns growing it is ultimately decided to deliver the baby by caesarean section. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Billie-Joe has a rare twin pregnancy called TRAP Sequence, which means one of the twins hasn't developed properly and has no heartbeat. Supported by her boyfriend Josh, Billie-Joe undergoes a complex procedure at Birmingham Women's Hospital's Fetal Medicine Centre to save the life of their healthy baby.

Episode 6 synopsis

Baby Elsie has been born eight weeks premature, weighs just 860 grams and was born with a hole in her heart. Her parents have spent the past two months living in hospital accommodation waiting for her to receive emergency surgery before they can take her home - but the procedure will only be possible when her weight reaches two kilograms. A couple enter the final preparations for their home delivery, and a mother who suffered severe post-natal depression after the birth of her first son gives birth to her third child. Last in the series.