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What Happens If Your Baby Is Born Earlier than Expected?

It doesn't matter what your doctor said your due date is. Babies have their own ideas about when they will make their grand entrances into the world.

By Andrea DawsonPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

My friend Karen discovered this when she went into labor several weeks before her due date. Her husband was at work at the time, so she took a taxi to the hospital. After a substantial wait at the hospital, staff told her that she was several weeks too early. They sent her home.

She went home as directed, feeling uneasy about it but trusting that the hospital staff knew best.

Her contractions did not stop. They increased in frequency and intensity until she realized she needed to start pushing. Karen understood instinctively that her baby's arrival was imminent. She was alone in her home and feeling panic-stricken. She called her husband but was unable to get a hold of him. Not knowing what else to do, she dialed an ambulance. The ambulance arrived for her quickly, and her baby was born in the vehicle soon afterwards.

As it turns out, this is not an uncommon story. Babies are often born in ambulances, taxicabs, cars, and at home, despite the fact that their parents had intended for other sorts of arrangements. The Denver Post reports an interesting story about a baby who was born in an ambulance 22 years after her mother was delivered in an ambulance in the same town.

Ideas for Having a Smooth Delivery, Even If Your Baby Comes Early

A common element in many of these ambulance birth stories is that the woman in labor rightly went to the hospital and was wrongly told to go home.

The first suggestion that comes to mind: Just because hospital staff tells you to go home, you do not have to rush to take their advice. Trust your own instincts. If you came to the hospital in your own car or with a friend, there is nothing stopping you from relaxing in the parking lot for a bit rather than driving home immediately. You can simply wait there for awhile to see what happens next. Perhaps it will become obvious that the incident is a false alarm. If your labor stalls, it's easy enough to turn around and go home at that point.

On the other hand, it might not be a false alarm. It is possible that your contractions might intensify. If you avoid rushing home and then find that you need to return to the hospital, you won't have to do so in an ambulance.

Another suggestion: Since you really never know when an emergency will arise that will require you to dial for the help of an ambulance, it's wise to ensure you have good ambulance cover well before you decide to start your family.

There's an infuriating story posted at the Becker's Hospital Review website detailing how a woman gave birth in the hospital parking lot. Nearby police saw the incident and called the paramedics, who then gave her a short ambulance escort to the front door of the hospital. She later received a $3,500 bill for the less than 300 meters she'd traveled by ambulance.

She hadn't requested ambulance transport in the first place. Something like that could happen to anyone -- and if it ever happens to you, hopefully you've been smart and made prior arrangements for your insurance to cover the resulting bills.

My final suggestion would be to spend some time well in advance of labor learning about what to do when your baby is ready to be born. That way, if your baby does make an early appearance, you'll have already given some thought to how to handle the situation. Babycenter has an excellent article on the topic of unplanned home birth that you might find helpful. Here's wishing you a smooth and easy delivery when the time comes, whether it happens on your due date or takes you by surprise on a different date.


About the Creator

Andrea Dawson

A fitness blogger and a personal trainer.

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