A pregnant woman was attacked by a gang of five men carrying crowbars while she was in labour.
The 22-year-old victim, who has not been named, was about to go to hospital when the masked men smashed into her home in Basildon, Essex and assaulted her and her male companion.
She suffered a fractured skull and other injuries - but gave birth to a healthy baby after being taken to the town's hospital.
Her attackers fled the house on foot after breaking into her home.
Her partner said the incident had "tainted" what should have been a special time for the family.
He said in a statement: "This was an extremely traumatic experience for us both.
"My girlfriend remains in hospital with a serious head injury when she should be celebrating the birth of our child.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police were called shortly after 9pm on Monday, 2 March to a property at Beambridge in Basildon with reports of an aggravated burglary.
“Five men smashed their way into the premises, armed with crow bars and assaulted the male and female occupants before leaving the scene on foot.
“The pair sustained minor injuries.
“The men are described as aged in their early to mid-20s. One was black and the others were white.
Detective Inspector Joel Henderson said: "This was a shocking attack on a young woman who was in labour.
"It is vital we get those people responsible off the streets of Basildon. I would ask anyone with information that could help this investigation to get in touch."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content