A mum who endured what could have been a fatal pregnancy has thanked heroic hospital staff for keeping her and her baby alive.

Gabbi Simpson, 23, was in labour for 23 hours on July 22 in the birthing suite of the Princess Royal University Hospital before her memory went blank.

The next thing she remembered was waking up in the intensive care unit the following day.

She had suffered a heart attack, brain seizure and a haemorrhage before her baby girl was born unresponsive.

This was because of a rare pregnancy complication known as amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), which has a mortality rate of between 60 and 80 per cent.

Life-saving staff at the PRUH stabilised the mum and transferred the baby to the Royal London Hospital.

"I woke up and didn’t know where my baby was,” Gabbi said. "The hospital really kindly took photos of her after she was born and put them next to my bed.

"It was the first thing I saw."

Gabbi’s partner assured her that baby Beatrix was ok before four days later the mum met her daughter for the first time.

She said: "I was terrified. I have never been so nervous and excited. I was in tears and shaking."

The mum and daughter are now "doing amazingly" back home in New Ash Green.

Gabbi, who is originally from Orpington, remains in disbelief about what happened during her birth and is still recovering from the physiological effects.

"I am young and healthy and had a heart attack,” she said. "I didn’t think that would ever happen.”

Speaking about the staff who assisted, the mum said: “They are like heroes. It was a late Sunday afternoon and they saved both of our lives. AFE will take the life of either the mum or baby or both most for the time.

"The care I received was absolutely amazing. Nothing I say will ever be enough. I made a card and brought in biscuits and chocolate but it will never be sufficient."

Gabbi said she had never heard of AFE before her pregnancy and added that there is only one charity for it, called the AFE Foundation.

She said: "I don't want to terrify mums but I want to raise awareness because no one even knows what AFE is."

Symptoms of AFE include agitation, fetal distress, increased anxiety, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath and skin discolouration.

Gabbi encouraged other women to talk about their experiences with AFE just as openly as they talk about post-natal depression.

Baby Beatrix is now home with her relieved mum and dad who say their daughter is now steadily gaining weight.