Former Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye has announced that she is pregnant.
The actress, 37, who used to play Angie Appleton in the ITV soap, has shared that she is due to welcome a tot with boyfriend Jonny Lomas in January and admitted that the pregnancy “came as a surprise.”
Speaking to Hello! magazine, she said: “We thought we would try next year. So when this pregnancy came along we were like: ‘It’s happening.’
“It did come as a bit of a surprise but it’s so unbelievably exciting.”
Victoria – who was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia when she was 22 – explained that she and Jonny decided to wait until three-months into the pregnancy before they shared the news due to her health woes.
She told: “We know friends that have miscarried and so we waited until we were 12 weeks before we even told our parents.
“Then, with my health condition, we wanted a little bit more security and stability in knowing that everything is okay with baby and with me.”
Victoria added: “As I have sickle cell, this is regarded as a high-risk pregnancy but the team at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester are amazing and I see my sickle cell specialist, my obstetrician and my midwife every month and they really look after me.”
The pair have decided that they will have a planned hospital birth and that Victoria will be induced around week 39.
The mum-to-be added that she will need to have a blood transfusion straight after the birth.
According to the NHS, sickle cell anaemia is the most serious type of sickle cell disease, which is the name for a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells.
Victoria told the Mirror in May that she suffered from crippling leg pain and fatigue as a result of the inherited disorder.
In 2004, at 22, she was so racked with physical pain and fatigue she cut short a contract as an entertainer in Alcudia, Majorca, and returned home to Manchester to get medical attention.
She said: “I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t listened to my body more and been aware of this life-threatening condition.
“That’s 100 per cent what I do now.
“I couldn’t get involved in playing out in the snow as the pain in my hands was excruciating..
“Even now, if I take something out the freezer, I’ve got to be quick.”
Read the full interview in Hello! magazine, out now.