A WEE COUNTY mum has spoken of her "amazing" experience of giving birth in Forth Valley Royal Hospital during the lockdown.

In the days leading up to April 21, Rachel Plank from Sauchie was understandably worried about the prospect of having a baby during a global pandemic.

In particular, the thought of going into hospital was a cause for concern for her, and her partner Graeme.

Four years ago, the pair had their first child, James, and wondered how different things would be this time around.

Rachel told the Advertiser: "We were really worried, because obviously it's a totally different experience from the first time I was pregnant.

"There are so many different emotions, you're not sure whether it's going to be okay.

"I think it was just going into hospital itself while there was a virus going about.

"You just don't know whether it's going to be okay or not."

Those worries stayed with Rachel until April 21, when she went to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert to have her baby.

But from the moment she arrived, her concerns started to disappear.

She said: "When I got there it was fine.

"All the staff are really lovely, and there were other women there, going through the exact same thing.

"It was actually a lot better than what I thought it was going to be."

For obvious reasons, some things were different from her last experience, such as seeing staff kitted out in more personal protective equipment.

But, overall, the experience was far more normal than Rachel expected.

She said: "I was worried about how different it would be, but it was still kept as normal as it could have been.

"The staff all go out of their way to make sure you're fine."

And after a short stay in the hospital, Rachel, Graeme and James returned home to Sauchie with the latest addition to their family: Jessica Isabella Plank.

When asked if she had a message for any expectant parents with worries about going into hospital in the coming days and weeks, Rachel said: "I would just say that it's a worrying time, and I could understand why they'd be worried.

"But I've got a healthy, happy baby, and it really isn't as worrying as you think.

"It was such an amazing experience."