A woman gave birth two months prematurely aboard a jumbo jet flying at 39,000 feet from Barbados to Britain, her husband too shocked to do anything but hold her hand, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Catherine Faye Capaldi was born on Monday, the day after Christmas, while the British Airways Boeing 747 was over the Atlantic, the Times of London said.The aircraft was diverted to Shannon airport in Ireland after the baby was born. An ambulance rushed the baby and her mother, 31-year-old Maureen Capaldi of London, to St. Munchin's maternity hospital at Limerick, it said.

The baby weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces at birth and mother and daughter were reported doing well, the paper said.

Mrs. Capaldi, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, was within one week of the recommended limit for pregnant air travelers and went into labor three hours after the plane took off, it said.

The paper quoted the plane's co-pilot, Nick Eades, as saying: "It was getting a bit panicky and I went (to the passenger section) to give reassurance, convinced that the birth was not going to take place. But by the time I got there, it was all happening.

"The head was already out. When the contractions stopped, the baby was there. It was really a do-it-yourself birth."

Eades was quoted as saying it was 30 minutes before the baby breathed unaided. "We thought the little mite wasn't going to live," he told the paper.

"I then rushed back to the flight deck to (help to) land the airplane. Mrs. Capaldi was very calm throughout. But her husband (Franco Capaldi) was too shocked to do anything except hold his wife's hand."