A sailor who complained of a stomachache recently gave birth to a healthy, 7-pound baby girl aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Navy told The Virginian-Pilot. The sailor, who was on the ship while it operated in the Persian Gulf, did not report she was pregnant because she said she did not know she was.
“As the baby was born at sea aboard an operational unit, the main focus for the U.S. Navy, the ship and its crew is the safety and wellbeing of the baby and the mother,” Cmdr. Bill Urban, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman, told The Virginian-Pilot. “The baby and mother have arrived in Bahrain via helicopter with a medical escort and have been taken to a shore-based hospital for follow on care.”
An incubator, diapers and formula were flown out to the carrier following the baby’s birth, which was not immediately clear, reports said. The incubator was used to transport the baby during the medical evacuation.
“The family practitioner aboard Ike, who delivered the baby, is certified in childbirth and has experience delivering babies,” Urban told the website. “A number of personnel assigned to Ike medical department have received training to deliver and care for a newborn.”
While Urban told the news outlet that the sailor’s superiors were not aware of the pregnancy, it could not be confirmed if she herself was aware either. Navy policy allows for expectant mothers to stay on ship up until the 20th week of pregnancy if a medical treatment facility is less than six hours away, and requires expectant mothers to self-report pregnancy within two weeks of confirmation from a medical care provider.
“While it would have been preferred to send her to her homeport earlier, per policy, we are now focused on caring for the health and welfare of our Sailor and the newest member of our Navy family,” Urban said.
Pentagon officials confirmed the birth on Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.