A British soldier stands at an Afghan National Police (ANP) check point in southern Afghanistan in this July 11, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
There were shades of reality TV when a British soldier who didn't know she was pregnant gave birth on the front line in Afghanistan.
The servicewoman, who has not been identified by British media, is stationed at the U.K.'s main base, Camp Bastion, where Prince Harry is also deployed.
She complained of stomach pains Tuesday, and later had a baby boy at the base's field hospital. The timing of the birth, in her 34th week of pregnancy, means she had conceived before arriving for her six-month tour of duty.
She is said to be so fit, she passed gruelling pre-deployment training without realizing she was carrying a child.
The gunner, with the 12 Mechanised Brigade, helped provide covering fire for troops when the base came under attack last Friday.
A spokesman for Britain's defence ministry told the Telegraph that pregnant women are not allowed to serve on the front line but that pre-deployment testing does not include a test for pregnancy. Soldiers who discover they are pregnant are sent home.
Maj. Charles Heyman, as quoted in the Daily Mail, said it should. The editor of the British Army handbook said the army should do a "simple urine test" on female soldiers.
Mom and baby are said to be doing fine and will be accompanied on their flight home by a medical team from Oxford, which is on its way.