Mid-air labour drama: Woman goes into labour 4 months early on transatlantic flight

"Did they make it to the hospital in time?" is the million dollar question...

transatlantic mid air flight labour

Jenny (on the right) went into labour four months early, mid-flight. Her little girl Zoe is reportedly doing well in a Dublin Hospital.
Images from The Daily Mirror

US mum Jenny Drake was returning home with her husband Gavin, after a babymoon break in Paris.

At 25 weeks pregnant, Jenny was well within the “safe” range for air travel during pregnancy. But she never expected her baby would be in such a mighty rush to be born — and mid-flight at that!

According to The Daily MailJenny went into labour on the transatlantic flight enroute to North Carolina airport, just an hour after the plane took off.

Jenny said:

“It was pretty terrible. My contractions were three minutes apart pretty much from the get go.  I was trying everything to convince myself that it wasn’t labour, that it was just Braxton Hicks [false labour pains], but eventually I had to flag down a flight attendant. 

“They asked if there were any medics on board and I think eight lights went on. There were several doctors who helped me, so I was really lucky. Originally they were going to turn the flight around and head back to Paris, but then we were told we were going to Dublin.”

At one point, the medics had even handed Jenny’s husband a plastic bag and told him to be prepared to catch the baby!

And if you were wondering, plastic bags can actually be used to save the life of a premature baby, as you can see in the video below.

All’s well that ends well

The American Airlines flight was diverted to Dublin in a bid to get the mother-to-be to a hospital in time.

Jenny, as you can imagine, was terrified, with her biggest fear being that, “if she [the baby] was born on the plane she wouldn’t make it because she was so young and her lungs were not properly developed. I just kept thinking, ‘Please let me make it to the hospital’, because every minute counts without oxygen.”

Fortunately, she made it to the hospital with minutes to spare, and the couple’s little girl Zoe made her dramatic entrance to this world weighing less than 700g.

“She’s doing really well and is stable now thankfully,” said Jenny.

Zoe’s middle name is, very appropriately, Ireland!

theAsianparent wishes the family all the best. Have you got a dramatic labour or birth story to share? Why not do so in a comment below? We’d love to hear all about it!