Hard Pushed

Leah Hazard

It’s not unusual for me to spend the night between a stranger’s legs. Sometimes two or three strangers in the space of twelve hours. Tonight is a bit different, though. It’s 3.42am and things aren’t going to plan.

Sitting in point-blank range of this particular vagina feels like staring down the barrel of a gun. Birth is inherently risky, a kind of physiological Russian roulette, but every midwife prays that she’ll dodge the bullet.

‘Your baby’s getting a bit tired,’ I say cautiously to the woman on the bed.

‘That makes fucking two of us.’

Fresh and unapologetic, with a vividly authentic voice, Leah gives readers an astonishing and entirely uncensored insight into the front line of our country’s maternity services.


Hard Pushed is a love letter to Leah’s fellow midwives, to her brave patients, and to our National Health Service.


Leah Hazard describes the challenges and dedication of those working in the NHS. The stories in Hard Pushed highlight the bravery of our midwives, and the women they care for.

Christie Watson
Christie Watson

Riveting read, heartwarming and heartbreaking stories in one package.

Sheena Byrom
Sheena Byrom

It is a story that takes us into the lives of the women and families she cares for, their diverse and often dramatic lives. It is a story beautifully told, intelligent and eloquent, that brings alive the fascination of midwifery, and radiates love and respect for women, even in the most frantic and anxiety ridden moments

Professor Lesley Page CBE, Visiting Professor in Midwifery KCL
Professor Lesley Page CBE , Visiting Professor in Midwifery KCL

Midwives like Leah Hazard accompany women through the life (and sometimes death) drama of childbirth. Hard Pushed is a beautifully written, intimate portrait of the extraordinary work that midwives carry out each and every day.

Caroline Elton, author of ALSO HUMAN
Caroline Elton , author of ALSO HUMAN

Hard Pushed charts a midwife’s most personal moments of triumph and devastating loss in a way that expands our understanding and gratitude to them.
Leah Hazard’s ‘microdoses’ of love are exactly what we need at a time of transforming intensity. It is her capacity to love and give so personally to the many thousands of women she worked with which imbues this book with its power.

Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works
Julia Samuel , author of Grief Works

Hard Pushed captures the universal love, fear, despair and hope that underpins humanity. The writing is gripping and Leah's dedication to women within a system that's crushing midwives transforms the everyday stories of childbirth into a page-turning testament to the power of compassion.

Rebecca Schiller, founder of Birthrights and author of Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan
Rebecca Schiller , founder of Birthrights and author of Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan



UK Publication

Penguin Random House / Hutchinson, May 2019

US Publication

On offer

Rights Sales

UK & Commonwealth: Penguin Random House / Hutchinson
Czech: Albatros Media
Dutch: Unieboek Spectrum
Estonian: Pegasus
Korean: Hyeonamsa
Polish: GW Foksal
Russian: AST
Swedish: Nona