By Kok Yufeng
SINGAPORE – She felt a little strange, but continued to deliver the news live on television.
In the end, Channel 8 anchor Zhao Wen Bei delivered more than just the news – she delivered a baby too.
Fortunately, she did so safely in hospital.
The incident happened during the broadcast of News Tonight on Tuesday night.
Madam Zhao, 34, a first-time mother, was reading the news on the daily 10pm live programme when she felt something strange, Shin Min Daily News reported.
Her water bag had broken, but she didn’t know. It was only after the broadcast that she found that out.
A woman’s “water breaking” often indicates the onset of labour, but can also happen earlier. It refers to the rupturing of the amnion, a membrane surrounding the unborn baby, and the release of some of the fluid inside.
The news was shared on Channel 8’s Facebook page yesterday. It said Madam Zhao was determined to finish the broadcast before she went to hospital.
“Let’s give a warm round of applause for the 100 per cent dedicated anchor Zhao,” the post said.
Lianhe Wanbao reported that the anchor had called her gynaecologist as soon as the broadcast was over.
The doctor suspected that her water had broken and advised her to go to hospital, where it was confirmed.
Madam Zhao was warded that night, but gave birth only two days later, on Thursday at 4.40pm, to a baby boy weighing 2.66kg. The baby has not been named but was given the nickname “Dou Dou”.
Madam Zhao and her husband were elated that the baby was delivered without a hitch, reported Shin Min.
“The instant I saw him, I was so moved I (was in tears),” Madam Zhao said.
During her interview with Shin Min at the hospital, she looked tired but was filled with joy at being a mother.
The baby was due only on May 13, so for the couple, it was an “unexpected surprise”.
She had not expected to go into labour a month early and so was not sure if her water bag had broken during the newscast.
MediaCorp told Shin Min that Madam Zhao was supposed to start her leave on May 1.
The station said that she realised her water had broken only when she spoke to her gynaecologist after the newscast.
Mother and son are expected to be discharged today, reported Wanbao.
During the early stages of her pregnancy, Madam Zhao kept vomiting and had poor appetite, reported Shin Min.
She said that during one 1pm news broadcast, she felt nauseous as the first segment of the programme was going into a commercial break.
“The crew rushed into the studio and gave me a plastic bag,” she said.
“I just vomited and barely had time to dry my tears when I had to carry on with the next segment of the broadcast.”
Waiting is okay but…
Due to their inexperience, first-time mothers may not realise it when their water bags break.
Some may even mistake the discharge of amniotic fluid for urine, gynaecologist Sng Soo Pheow told The New Paper.
Dr Sng said that Madam Zhao Wen Bei might have been concentrating on delivering the news and it is possible she might not have noticed that her water bag had broken.
He said a pregnant woman must consult a doctor as soon as that happens.
Dr Sng said that 30 minutes, which is the duration of the News Tonight programme, was not too long a time for Madam Zhao to have waited before being admitted to hospital and there was minimal risk of infection.
But he warned that although uncommon, there might be complications that require immediate attention.
If the umbilical cord were to come out with the amniotic fluid, there is a risk for cord prolapse. When that happens, the blood vessels in the umbilical cord can become constricted and oxygen to the baby may be reduced.
“In such a case, 30 minutes is too long a wait,” he said.
Dr Sng also said that infection may set in if water has broken for more than 24 hours.
When asked if it was safe for a woman to deliver two days after her water bag breaks, he said: “As long as there’s no infection and the baby’s heartbeat is all right, it’s okay.”