'I had a nap. An hour later, I woke up to discover I'd given birth to my baby.'

A first-time British mum has claimed she was asleep throughout the birth of her son, which only took around an hour.

Alice Payne, 23, said she didn’t feel a thing and “napped” while doctors at the Royal Derby Hospital delivered baby Phillip on December 18, 2016.

The private tutor’s bout of drowsiness was apparently caused by medication she was given after a machine misread the time between her contractions, according to The Sun.

“Because the contraction monitor wasn’t reading me properly, doctors didn’t realise that I was as far along as I actually was. So I was given some drugs to let me nap for a couple of hours, but 30 minutes later they realised I was ready to push,” she told The Sun.

Payne said she was medically-induced at just 38 weeks when doctors found her son had stopped growing in the womb.

While there was nothing wrong with the baby, they reportedly felt it was safer to deliver him early, just in case.

Initially Payne’s body responded slowly to the hormones used to bring on labour.

She was given a hefty dose of Pethadine to help with the pain as doctors thought she was still a long way of.

Payne’s husband John, 31, said his wife “completely out of it and couldn’t feel anything”, while the medical team worried she might even be too relaxed to push.

She said his familiar voice coaxing her had helped her along, despite her state.

Alice with baby Phillip. Image: Facebook/Jonathan Payne

Other than that Payne said she had almost no recollection of her labour, but did remember meeting her son for the first time.

"I remember a nurse trying to put Philip in my arms, but I was going to sleep again, only to wake up two hours later to properly meet her son," she told The Sun.

"Though I'm pleased I missed the pain of labour, I do wish I had been more present for my first baby's birth.

"Now when he's older and asks me, I'll have to tell him I nodded off."

The hospital has not confirmed Payne's story, but according to Dr Alexis Shub, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne, it is not unusual for women to nap between contractions after having an epidural.

"With modern, effective epidural analgesia, women may not be aware of contractions, or of how fast the labour is progressing. This type of analgesia does not make a woman drowsy, or unaware of her surroundings," Dr Shub told Mamamia.

"Labour is very hard work, and many woman will take the opportunity for a quick nap between contractions, or during labour if they have an epidural, or after the baby is born.  "Contraction monitors" are used to monitor a baby's well-being, and the frequency of the contractions, but do not tell midwives or doctors how the labour is progressing. "

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