You start to experience strong contractions. You get in the car, ready to go to the hospital. But it’s rush hour and as you’re stuck in traffic you start to feel the urge to push. There’s no time. The baby is coming now. So you better put the hazard lights on and keep watching.
The risk of stillbirths and death in newborns is higher for babies that are born before getting to the hospital. They’re also more likely to end up in the neonatal intensive care unit. And since only about 4% of deliveries happen on their due dates, you’ll definitely want to learn how to cope with this situation.
What items can you use to deliver your baby? Why should you never cut the umbilical cord? And how can skin-to-skin contact save your life?
Step 1: Don’t Underestimate the Blankets
A Manchester woman gave birth in a Uber one day before her baby was due. She started feeling contractions and called for a ride to take her to the hospital. But five minutes into the ride, she felt her body pushing.
The driver pulled up outside a nearby medical center. But the baby’s head was already visible, and the woman wasn’t able to move. So she gave birth in the front seat of the car.
The doctors brought the woman and her baby inside and called for an ambulance. While they waited, the baby’s temperature started dropping. Since there weren’t any blankets at the center, the mom put her baby under her T-shirt. Luckily the baby was OK. But it would be safer to give birth in a car if you carry an emergency bag with items like pillows to make the mother comfortable in the car, a water bottle for washing your hands and blankets to wrap the baby in.
Step 2. Don’t pull the baby out
Imagine a woman’s in labor, and you’re driving her to the hospital. And you realize that despite your best efforts, you won’t get there in time. You’ll need to pull over, turn your hazard lights on and help deliver the baby. Help her get onto a flat surface, like the back seat, or recline the front seat. Once she feels the uncontrollable need to push, the baby is coming.
When you start to see the baby’s head, place your hands under it and support it. Guide the baby out into the blanket, but don’t pull the baby out. Once both shoulders are out, gently lift the baby slightly towards the mother’s stomach and the rest will come out.
Step 3. Don’t cut the cord
Once the baby is born, call for an ambulance. The placenta will come out on its own in the next 30 minutes. Hopefully, that’ll happen once help has arrived. But if that’s not the case, just leave the placenta next to the baby after it comes out. Do not cut the umbilical cord that attaches it to the baby.
The placenta will still deliver nutrients to the baby. And cutting the cord is the most dangerous part of the delivery since it can lead to hemorrhaging. So wait for the paramedics.
Step 4. Hold your baby
After the placenta is delivered, there might be some bleeding. Typically, midwives give mothers an oxytocin injection that contracts the uterus and stops the bleeding. But since you don’t have that, place the baby on the mother so they are skin-to-skin. This will release oxytocin and help lessen the bleeding.
Step 5. Listen to your body
Births happen all the time, all over the world. And while it’s essential to be prepared, it is also important to remember that the mother’s body knows how to do the job. If you start giving birth, stay calm and listen to what your body is telling you. It knows when to push and when to stop. Once you and your baby are in the hands of medical professionals, let them take care of the situation.
Congratulations! You just gave birth in a vehicle! Now you feel like you can survive anything. But remember, feeding and changing your newborn is going to keep you up all hours of the night. Soon, you’ll realize that you’re barely getting three hours of sleep per night. What can you do to survive the rest of your day?
- “Cars And Bathroom Floors: Why Some Babies Don’t Wait For The Delivery Room“. 2018. Abc.Net.Au.
- “Experience: I Gave Birth In An Uber“. 2018. The Guardian.
- “Emergency Delivery: What To Do When The Baby’S Coming – Right Now | Your Pregnancy Matters | UT Southwestern Medical Center“. 2021. Utswmed.Org.
- “Delivering A Baby Properly In An Emergency Childbirth“. 2021. Verywell Family.
- “How To Deliver A Baby (If You Absolutely Have To) “. 2021. The Cut.
- “Childbirth: A Different Way To Remove The Placenta May Save Mothers’ Lives, A Study Finds (Published 2012)“. 2012. Nytimes.Com.