Chancellor's wife gives premature birth to a daughter

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Gordon Brown's wife, Sarah, gave birth to a daughter seven weeks early yesterday after undergoing an emergency Caesarean section.

The baby, weighing just 2lb 4oz, was delivered after complications with the pregnancy came to light during a routine scan two days ago.

The Chancellor was at his wife's bedside last night at Forth Park Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, near his constituency home. Mother and baby were said to be doing fine.

Mrs Brown, a public relations executive aged 37, is expected to return home in the next few days, although their daughter, who is in an incubator breathing without assistance, will stay in hospital longer until her weight increases.

Doctors advised Mrs Brown to have an immediate Caesarean after a scan on Thursday showed low levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. A more detailed scan showed the baby was in perfect health but would not grow sufficiently because of the condition.

Mr Brown, who is 50, was with his wife during the operation and both have held the baby, who has not been named.

Dr Tahir Mahmood, the consultant obstetrician who delivered the baby, said that she was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction ­ a condition that occurs in 10 per cent of pregnancies and causes the child to have an irregular heart rate.

If the pregnancy had been allowed to run its natural course there could have been a risk to mother and child, but she was born healthy and was "doing well", he said.

"She is in an incubator and has a little oxygen mask. She has a good set of lungs and was crying healthily," he said.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Chancellor said the couple were "delighted with their beautiful baby girl". He added: "Sarah is recovering well and will go home after the weekend, but, as normal, the baby will remain in hospital to make sure everything remains fine. They would like to thank the doctors and nurses and all the staff at the hospital for all their wonderful care."