A video was posted to YouTube on July 16th and has already been viewed over 60,000 times and shared by many news outlets.
It is a video of a woman in the throes of transition in a moving car who then proceeds to very quickly have a baby. In the spirit of positive support I'd like to point out what these parents absolutely did right.
They remained calm. Even at the height of transition the mother breathes very evenly and while she does cry out, she also positions herself into a good upright position. The Father is amazingly calm and supportive. He reassures the mother and lets her call the shots.
They make the best of the situation. This is an intense, emotional situation. The mother is even keeled and responsive and attentive to her baby. The father is calm, reassuring, and obviously elated. He already shows a sense of humor rather than dramatizing the situation.
This couple is to be commended for how they handled this labor and birth.
With a little preparation and education we can avoid this situation all together. According to the American Pregnancy Association there are a few signs of precipitous or fast labor.
- Sudden Onset of intense, closely timed contractions with little recovery time in between.
- Intense pain that feels like one continuous contraction.
- An intense pressure, bearing down or pushing sensation, which often occurs unaccompanied by contractions due to rapid dilation and decent of the baby.
I tell all of the parents I work with: if you don't think you're going to make it to the hospital or if any of the above symptoms occur, especially if there is crowning or visual confirmation of the baby, don't get in a car. Call your care provider, EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and your doula: in that order. Get the mom in a supported position and if you have time, get something like trash bags or towels to minimize the mess. If not, don't worry - furniture, carpets, rugs, floors, bathtubs - they all clean up.
If you are in the car on the way to the hospital - DO NOT drive faster. Pull over in a safe place and assist and comfort the birthing woman. Call EMS, your care provider, and your doula: in that order.
In either situation, do not cut the umbilical cord. If the placenta is birthed, then wrap it up along with the baby.
Just remember, keep calm! Birth is a natural physiological process. Trust your baby, trust your body, call in reinforcements if needed.