This moving, intimate, funny and true-to-life series, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, tells colorful stories of midwifery and families in London's East End in the 1950s. Jenny Lee, a young woman raised in the wealthy English countryside, has chosen to become a nurse and now, as a newly qualified midwife, has gone to work in the poorest area of the city. Attached to an order of nursing nuns at Nonnatus House, Jenny is part of a team of women who minister to expectant mothers, many of whom give birth at home in appalling conditions. The drama follows Jenny as she meets her patients and learns to love the people who live in the East End.
In the Season 4 Premiere, Nurse Barbara Gilbert arrives at Nonnatus and, after a disastrous start, earns the respect of her colleagues by helping a new mother overcome difficulties. Trixie faces one of the most emotionally draining cases of her career, and the Turners broker a domestic deal that breaks the mold for the 1950s and 60s. Sister Evangelina finally agrees to undergo tests for her abdominal pain.
Two things become clear: new nurse Phyllis Crane is not going to fit in easily and Sister Julienne and a prospective benefactor knew each other many years ago. Meanwhile, everyone involved in a difficult birth is overwhelmed by the outcome, Patsy is poised to take over as scout leader and Tom dampens Trixie’s plans for an extravagant engagement party.
A mother’s life is turned upside down when her husband is arrested for gross indecency with a man. After Nurse Crane meets a clearly malnourished pregnant woman, a home visit reveals that she has given a false address and seems to have disappeared.
Trixie is delighted when Tom asks her to oversee an official church duty. At Nonnatus House, Sister Monica Joan deliberately undermines Fred’s attempts to bring a rat infestation under control.
Sister Winifred’s eyes are opened to Poplar’s seedy underworld when she cares for an expectant prostitute. Meanwhile, Barbara struggles to understand why an expectant father would put undue pressure on his wife to bear a son, and Sister Monica Joan feels redundant as the busy midwives go about their work. The bishop’s meeting with Tom leads to an argument between Trixie and Tom.
Sister Julienne questions the nature of absolute faith when she meets a Christian Science couple who refuse medicine for their newborn. Things become more complex when they’re accused of harming their child. Meanwhile, Barbara tries to communicate with a pregnant woman who can’t speak English. Using the woman’s young son to translate presents a new set of problems. Sister Mary Cynthia returns, and Fred meets a woman who catches his eye.
A secret romance faces heartbreak when teenager Paulette becomes pregnant, a situation complicated by her diabetes and her boyfriend’s criminal past. Nurse Crane helps support the young couple, but Paulette’s life is endangered when the two run off together. Meanwhile, a group of itinerants comes to the attention of the Nonnatus team when Noakes accuses them of theft. The midwives are drawn into their closed world when they treat a newborn. Patsy organizes a fundraising square dance, to which Fred asks Violet on a date.
Shirley and Marion, each pregnant with her first child, meet again. The old school friends are now worlds apart, but are brought together later in an unexpected way. Elsewhere, Barbara makes a revolutionary suggestion to help Sister Mary Cynthia’s bedsore patient, Tommy. However, it turns out that his wife, Gert, most needs care. The love between Tommy and Gert makes Fred think about taking the next step with Violet.
Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia team up to support a deaf mother-to-be, while a case of morning sickness proves more serious than initially suspected. Elsewhere, Fred’s daughter is less than delighted about his forthcoming wedding.