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Baby Delivered on a Plane

Bedtime Story: My Mom Delivered a Baby on a Plane

Back in 1983, my mother and step-father took a Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas to Houston. As they boarded, my mom noticed an expectant woman who looked like she was ready to pop. She somehow boarded the plane while in labor and it took off.During the ascent, the woman announced that the baby was on its way. My mother, a pediatric nurse, jumped up to help her. She brought the mom-to-be to the front of the plane (where one boards — the widest available space) and had her lay down. My mom told the flight attendant to ask the pilot to return to Dallas and have an emergency medical team available.

One of the attendants told her that the flight wouldn't be too long, just about 45 minutes. So my mom replied that she could see the baby's head crowning and they needed to land ASAP. While the plane backtracked, the laboring woman and my mother shared some intense moments. To see what happened,


My mom asked the flight attendant if there was any suction equipment on board. The attendant said they had swizzle sticks. My mother then requested a first aid kit. And, it turned out to be one that was four inches by four inches and contained two gauze pads and four band-aids. The laboring woman was in pain, but soon delivered a baby boy. My mom took a shoelace and tied the umbilical cord as the plane taxied into a gate.

As you might imagine, the plane was a bit messy from the delivery. When the airline agent opened the door at the jet-way, he turned green and allowed the paramedics to take over.

As a reward, Southwest Airlines gave my mother two round trip tickets to anywhere they flew. Back in 1983, they were so small they only flew to Texas cities and Los Angeles. So my mom, grandmother, and I all went to Disneyland! Doesn't that seem like a fitting way to be merited for the good deed?


Join The Conversation
isa56 isa56 8 years
nancita nancita 9 years
What an amazing story! But yeah, even if there was no medical note requirement back then, seems a little crazy to fly that pregnant.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
This story was in 1983. I think that incidents like this one caused the medical note requirement for pregnant women now :)
tinkerbellkrisp tinkerbellkrisp 9 years
My mom had three really fast deliveries. From the start of contractions to the baby coming out was less than 2.5 hrs for all three of us! While silly to travel while that pregnant, perhaps the woman wasn't in labor yet when she boarded? It seems pretty crazy, but it is definitely possible. Frankly, fast deliveries seem to run in my family (my grandma said all five of her kids took less than three hours), and I'm a little scared about when my time comes.
Mel475 Mel475 9 years
I'm sure situations like this are what caused airlines to put these sorts of guidelines in place! "I'm in labor" and "The baby's coming NOW!" are not words any flight attendant or passenger wants to hear after takeoff!!!! :-)
babysugar babysugar 9 years
Just remember this was in 1983 when smoking was still allowed on planes, too. A lot has changed since then!
Mel475 Mel475 9 years
I'm surprised the airline would allow her to board. I know now some will require a doctor's note and if you're within so many days of your due date, they won't let you travel. This is from United's website: Guidelines for pregnant travelers Women traveling in their ninth month of pregnancy must have an obstetrician’s certificate dated within 24 to 72 hours prior to their flight departure. The certificate must state: The woman has been examined by an OB and is physically fit to travel by air Departure and arrival destinations and dates Estimated birth date of the baby As romaniagirl stated, taking a flight at that stage in her pregnancy certainly could have put this woman and her baby at serious risk. Thank goodness someone with experience was there to help!
HipMom HipMom 9 years
Thast was silly of the woman to board while in labor! She could have had complications. Luckily all went well!
millarci millarci 9 years
God bless your mother for stepping up and helping that woman!
LauraW68 LauraW68 9 years
Wow! Your Mom was in the right place at the right time!
rgrl rgrl 9 years
What a cute story! Your mom sounds like a very strong lady. But what the heck was the pregnant woman thinking??? She could have been putting her baby's life in danger, not to mention the inconvenience to the people on the plane. What if your mom hadn't been there? Oh so many questions come to mind. :D The reward for you was pretty sweet!
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