Nurses from some of the remotest parts of Scotland will be in the spotlight next week as The Highland Midwife returns for a second series on Channel 5.
The show will look at the challenges faced by pregnant women who live hundreds of miles from a city hospital maternity ward and are relying on the special care and goodwill provided by a dedicated group of midwives.
Each episode of the series covers the stories of expectant mothers as they prepare to give birth in some of the most beautiful, if challenging, parts of the country.
This time around it has expanded east across the Highlands to include the Grampians, with 11 live births being filmed.
In one episode a woman gives birth in the back of the ambulance and the midwife delivers the baby at the side of the road.
The mother and father from Fraserburgh had met on an oil rig, were married within three months in Los Angeles and had the baby ten months after they first met.
The show also features a woman who is having her seventh baby and in episode one a baby’s heart stops beating.
Morven Fioretti, 48, who has been a midwife for 23 years in Tain, Ross-shire, returns for a second series and features in an episode where second-time mother Sarah McKenzie tries for a relaxed home birth, but ends up being taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after more than 30 hours of exhausting labour puts her and the baby at risk.
Fioretti said: “I did a bit of filming for the first series so I knew what was involved and the film crew where quite accommodating, so Sarah didn’t mind being filmed either.
“She was hoping to have a home birth and have her baby at home, but unfortunately there was a risk and she ended up having to go to Inverness to give birth.
“One of the reasons I took part in the series is that at times it has been difficult to recruit to the Highlands.
“So, we wanted to showcase what NHS Highland has to offer. You get a great work/life balance, you’re working in wonderful scenery and you’re able to provide continuity of care in the community and it really is a nice job most of the time.
“You’re covering remote areas and trying to cover home births can be challenging at times as well.”
Fioretti said that despite recruitment problems in the profession, a midwifery course is starting in Inverness as a pilot project to attract more people into the field.
She said if there was one message to take from the programme it is that continuity of care and looking after the same person has been shown to lessen the risk for mother and baby.
She added: “They were quite unobtrusive and you don’t notice the camera crew are there.
“Birth is a normal life event and it’s the midwives’ job to support women through pregnancy and want them to come to you early when they’re pregnant.
“Because I’ve worked here for a long time, as you go around the area everybody knows you and because of that they feel they can approach you and come to you if they have concerns.”
Channel 5 decided to film in the Highlands after the success of their series The Yorkshire Vet and aimed to replicate the formula with midwives in remote and rural settings.
Greg Barnett, Channel 5’s commissioning editor factual, said: “The Highland Midwife is the perfect Channel 5 show; it’s a heart-warming and inspiring series following a passionate group of everyday people who face unusual challenges in their everyday lives, all set against the gorgeous and stunning backdrop of the Highlands of Scotland.”
The Highland Midwife is broadcast on Channel 5, Wednesday, 8pm.