A 19-YEAR-OLD woman has been arrested after she tried to steal a baby at a hospital in Mpumalanga over the weekend, the provincial health department said.

Spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said the woman pretended to be pregnant and in labour before trying to steal the baby in the maternity ward at the Tonga Hospital.

Security guards at the hospital acted swiftly and caught the woman at about 2am on Sunday morning.

Malamule said the woman had tried to hide the newborn baby in her bag.