In need of emergency treatment, the pregnant woman was taken to the nearby Crown Princess cruise ship to be seen by the doctors on-board. She was then airlifted to the Sicilian city of Catania where she gave birth to a baby girl, Italian authorities said.
The boat carrying 44 children, 20 women and 94 men was spotted last night around 100 miles off the coast of Sicily. A naval plane then guided the boat and the Italian coast guard helped transfer the refugees to two naval ships and onward to the port of Syracuse.
A video of the rescue shows members of the Italian coastguard helping the refugees, including a number of young children, off the rickety boat. The coast guard then pilots a rescue boat to the cruise ship, where doctors rush to the aid of the pregnant woman. The video shows the Syrian woman being put on a stretcher and carried to the cruise ship by ten crew, while the other refugees are given food.
The rescue marks the latest in a wave of boat migrants to Italy. On Friday the UN refugee agency said that 3,300 Syrians have arrived in Italy by boat in recent weeks, fleeing a civil war which has raged for more than two years.
Watch the video of the rescue: