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I felt like I was having my baby in the middle of a TV show; JESSIE EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: NICOLA METHVEN and FIONA CUMMINS

MUM-TO-BE Jessie Wallace has told how she thought she was going into labour - in the middle of a TV interview.

The terrified EastEnders star - whose baby is due in days - says she felt a series of contractions as she talked to Paul O'Grady on his ITV1 chat show last week.

Despite the pain, she carried on with the programme without telling anyone - until later.

Speaking at the National Television Awards party, Jessie explained: "It turned out to be a false alarm - what doctors call Braxton Hicks contractions.

"But it was pretty scary at the time. Afterwards, I told Paul what had happened and his jaw nearly hit the floor.

"At the time, I didn't know what was going on, but I just couldn't get comfortable. Whichever position I sat in, the pains just carried on."

Braxton Hicks contractions - named after the doctor who first described them in 1872 - are nature's way of preparing the body for childbirth.

During the show - screened on Friday - O'Grady joked that Jessie might go into labour while they talked.

He told viewers: "I've got the hot water and towels ready just in case."

At Tuesday's TV awards in London, Jessie, 33, lost out on the Best Actress gong to Coronation Street rival Suranne Jones. But at the party afterwards she was far from glum.

With fiance Dave Morgan at her side, she got stuck into a small tub of strawberry ice cream as she said: "The nursery's ready, my bag is packed and I've got new jim-jams - so I'm all set.

"I can't wait. I'm not scared about the pain or nervous. I'm just really, really excited."

She added: "I can feel the baby's bum sticking out and I love to stroke it.

"But when someone else does it, the baby moves, so it must know I'm its mum."

She revealed that Dave will be there when she finally gives birth at London's exclusive Portland Hospital.

Jessie, who plays Kat Moon in the soap, has been getting a few tips from co-star Kacey Ainsworth (Little Mo), who gave birth to daughter Blossom in May.

In the meantime she's just looking forward to being a mum - and the prospect of getting into a more slimline party frock.

-JULIA Roberts, due to have twins in January, has been admitted to a hospital in LA after having early contractions. Doctors say the 36-year-old star's condition is not serious.

nicola.methven@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

SCARE: On Paul's show; HANGING ON: Jessie yesterday; Picture: PHIL HARRIS
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 28, 2004
Words:424
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