A husband and wife have told of their agony following the death of their three-day-old baby girl after plans for her to be delivered on Christmas Day were cancelled. Natalie and Nicholas Powell say hospital staff ‘disregarded’ NHS guidelines by postponing their daughter Poppy’s birth when she was already two weeks overdue.

Natalie, 38, was due to be induced on December 25, 2011 – but midwives decided on Christmas Eve to change the appointment to a check up. She went into labour naturally on Boxing Day but staff failed to detect a change in Poppy’s heart rate and the newborn wasn’t breathing when she was delivered. Poppy died three days later and Natalie and Nicholas, of Littleborough, Greater Manchester, launched a legal investigation after being urged by their GP to order a post mortem.

The case has now been settled out of court for an undisclosed five-figure sum but Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust did not admit liability at any stage. Natalie said: “Losing Poppy was the hardest thing I’ve had to face in my life.” Poppy was put on a ventilator after she was born but Natalie and Nicholas had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off the life support three days later.