Giving Birth In The Air

Singapore
October 23, 2009 1:26pm CST
How could this happened? Was there some negligence at check in, that allowed a final trimester mother to be on board the flight? Well, this incident ended with fortunates only, as both the mother and her baby boy was delivered without complications at 2000 feet above and prior landing on the alternate landing airport's tarmac. Yes, the baby is fine and above that he will be traveling FREE for his entire life with his mother on Air Asia where they were on. I am glad that the incident had turned out well for the parent and child but I just cannot say for the rest of the passengers on board the Air Asia flight that was to take them from Penang to Kuching, only to be diverted to Kuala Lumpur for this emergency. I wonder how inconvenienced they must have been. Did anyone of the passengers lost a job as a result of the involuntary delay? Did a business appointment went awry? So, was the airline responsible for this incident? If they are, then how about let them have a complimentary flight on their next trip? Ref: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091023/od_afp/malaysiaairasiaairlineoffbeat
2 people like this
10 responses
@2timothy (794)
• Philippines
24 Oct 09
Giving birth on a plane is much better than giving birth on a a car which often happens while they are on their way to the hospital. Some mothers even gave birth at the delivery waiting area as they stand waiting in line for their turn. Although doctors advised pregnant mothers to stay home when their due date is near, some experienced mothers care less as giving birth to them is just like going for a bowel movement.
• United States
24 Oct 09
Yes, thats exactly what its like. Not. Seriously??!...lol
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
2timothy, Well, in case you fancy the novelty here, let me assure you that it will be really dramatic beyond your anticipation. Try imagining the event when the plane is 30,000 feet above the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the pregnant traveler goes into labor, with the nearest airport being umpteen hours away. If it is not thrilling enough, let Mr Murphy throw in some birth complications....so as you can see now, the very reasons why airlines have a certain policy for pregnant travelers. Though the situation can be odd and uncomfortable in a car, but I suppose it will still be safer than having a stacked up odds in an airplane cabin.
@2timothy (794)
• Philippines
25 Oct 09
I understand the anxiety of each woman in labor but many in highly-developed countries may never realize how simple giving birth is in the countryside. No one there would have heard of the C. They just call in the midwife as travel to the nearest town clinic would be daunting. My comment is indirectly derived from their sharings.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
I can't remember the guideline for traveling; is it 4 months above or less than that? For a pregnant lady not being able to travel. I think different countries might have a different rule for this.. Wow... free for an entire life... that's just so cool.. . But you are right; I wonder about other situations for other moms, hmmm..
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
zed_k4, The airlines all have a common policy for pregnant travelers where when they are above 27 weeks of their pregnancy, they are required to have certification letters of their due dates from their doctors or gynecologists. All airlines are strict about this issue where they will forbid domestic travel beyond thirty-six weeks of pregnancy and international travel beyond thirty-two weeks. The policies may differ here and there but they are just about the same. And as usual, always check when in doubt when making your travel reservations.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
24 Oct 09
they should require as well a copy of an ultrasound report to confirm the term of the pregnancy. people today are very creative. they can be creative to get a certification from their family doctor and certify them less than their term period just to be able to travel on air.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
27 Oct 09
Thanks for explaining, sky.. I agree with you; it's best to check the regulations in different countries that we are about to travel to or from..
1 person likes this
@aseretdd (13709)
• Philippines
24 Oct 09
I think this is not the first time this happened... same incident occurred but with another airline... and i feel that the birth of a child on board a flying plane is not something that we should find fault... yes, there was irresponsibility on the part of the crew and mother... but the main thing is that both the mother and child are doing well... a birth is always a joyous event... and being born on a flying airplane makes it extra special...
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
aseretdd, I am sorry that you have taken this discussion as somewhat slighted towards a fault finding mission. However, I believe in the saying where we learn from our mistakes and that being aware of the dangers of air travel, I just felt that there is a need to mention this case and let everyone learn from it. If you can simply try and picture a case where the birth actually goes into complication like risk of blood clots thromboembolic disease or deep vein thrombosis where the blood clots may tear loose and travel to the lungs. This event, known as a pulmonary embolism and it is often fatal. Or, umbilical cord complications? In short, all airlines are unable to handle obstetrical emergencies aboard their aircraft. So, the parent should be wary and avoided making the travel. Then, the airline staff at the check in should have checked out this mother's condition and follow company's policy which is really for the good and safety of the mother.
1 person likes this
@aseretdd (13709)
• Philippines
24 Oct 09
I am sure the mother was given a medical certification by her doctor that she is fit to fly... and because of that... the airline admitted her... but the pressure or stress must have triggered that moment... it is just a good thing that a doctor was on board...
1 person likes this
@aseretdd (13709)
• Philippines
25 Oct 09
I am sure the mother was given a medical certification by her doctor that she is fit to fly... and because of that... the airline admitted her... but the pressure or stress must have triggered that moment... it is just a good thing that a doctor was on board...
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
23 Oct 09
I think the mom needs to take most of the responsiblity. I do remember being told not to do any traveling towards the end of my pregnancy, and certainly not to go more than an hour or so away from home so that I could safely reach my hospital in time. Most pregnant women realize they can go into labor at any time, especially once you reach the third trimester... so why in the world would this mother, knowing she's so close to the end of her pregnancy, board a plane and travel away from home, and away from the doctors who've been caring for her all pregnancy, the same doctors prepared to handle her labor and birth once it happens? I don't think it's up to the airlines to tell people that they can't fly, and they shouldn't have to ask a pregnant woman how far along she is. It should be up to the person to have a bit of common sense!
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
katsmeow1213, I do agree with you to a certain extent here but being a parent, I can take that this mother is inexperience and having her first child. I am sure you can remember how it is liked, but let's not forget about the airline's policy on pregnant travelers. I felt that this episode could have been avoided if the check in and boarding gate attendants had done their job with more care and diligence. I am sure they would have discovered this unfit traveler, denied her boarding and prevented this incident. I am sure you are wary with me that all airlines forbid domestic travel beyond thirty-six weeks of pregnancy and international travel beyond thirty-two weeks. Also, that they are unable to handle obstetrical emergencies aboard their aircraft. I feel slighted that the airline is more culpable here.
• United States
24 Oct 09
As I already said, I don't think it should be up to the airline to ask each woman if she is pregnant. Not every woman that looks pregnant actually is pregnant, and not every pregnant woman appears pregnant... so how is the airline supposed to know other than ask each individual woman! That's ridiculous. Whether or not it was her first child, it's still her fault. When I was having my first child I was told not to travel after the 3rd trimester, so she should have known better. People just don't have common sense anymore and it becomes so aggravating.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
24 Oct 09
I totally agree with katsmeow1213. The mother should be more responsible. Although, the airline is partly responsible too. If they have carefully screened the pregnant women, this wouldn't happen. Usually the airline doctor should require a certification from the ob-gyne and a copy of an ultrasound report so they would be able to validate the term of the pregnancy and avoid any miscalculations. Certification should not be enough as this can be doctored. I guess bottomline is, the mother should have avoided flying in the first place especially being in the trimester of her pregnancy already. She shouldn't have been selfish. She should have thought about the safety of her child.
@o0Tora0o (356)
• United States
24 Oct 09
The problem with news articles like that is that a lot of the time, they don't give all of the details regarding stories. Maybe the mother ignored her doctor's advice and chose to take that flight. Maybe her documents were falsified somehow and made it look like she wasn't as far along as she really was. Maybe the airline employees didn't bother to verify that she was okay to fly like they should have. Maybe the baby just came a lot earlier than everyone was expecting him to. Regardless, it's by far not an ideal situation. The mother's very lucky that there weren't any complications and that there was a doctor on board. I'm glad to know that both mother and child are doing well after that ordeal, but I probably wouldn't have appreciated it had I been on board that plane. Delays do happen, and people do have medical emergencies, but I really don't feel flying while pregnant is advisable. I guess I'm just too paranoid about things going wrong--I'm only 22 weeks along and I never fly, but there's no way you're going to get me on a plane at this point. If the unexpected happens, I at least want to be able to get whatever medical care my daughter and I may need as soon as possible.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
25 Oct 09
o0Tora0o, I see that you are coming from another angle where I have tried to play the devil's advocate in one of my comments to another responder. I hope that the points raised here will be made wary for the relevant authorities and staffs, so that they will be more meticulous with their duties and not let such life threatening emergencies from taking place midair. Have a nice day.
@4mymak (1796)
• Malaysia
24 Oct 09
i was shocked when i first read the news myself.. surprised because i knew that were rules pertaining to allowing pregnant women to fly.. but it seems that for AirAsia / Malaysia, women are 28 weeks pregnant are banned from flying, and the lady who gave birth on the plane was 'only 27 weeks' pregnant.. and she (and the rest of the people on board that plane) was indeed lucky that there just happened to be a doctor among them at that time... (i guess it is fated that way.. the baby delivered safely with a doctor on board.. ) still.. i guess i cant blame the airline for this one.. it wouldnt be good for them to turn down / deny a customer who has the 'right' to fly with them.. here's another link to the same story, but different newspaper (nst): http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/20091022180142/Article/index_html
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
4mymak, Thank you for the follow up article. However, I will play the devil's advocate here that the article may not be reflecting the truth where there might be a cover up. There are just some circumstances and accounts that lead me to think otherwise here. I mean this is a premature birth and it just opened up even more perspective into this issue. Perspectives like the airline trying to cover it's tracks or the traveler's letter had be falsified. I hope that the relevant people will reflect with this and that they start to pull up their socks.
@cwong77 (2011)
• Malaysia
24 Oct 09
I think I have read earlier that another birth in the air case happen in Malaysia too! I wonder if these passengers do submit the letter confirmation from the doctor in order to board the flight, or if they are able to hide the tummy that well, to the extend that the check in staff did not realise this. Actually, in the LCCT airport, the check in system is in a mess, as there are so many people nowadays opted for the freelance air carrier which offer cheaper rate to fly. Well, I think if there is some inconveniences caused by this delay, the airlines will surely compensate the passengers.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
cwong77, I am wondering if the check in staff had actually asked for the certification letter in the first place. With what you have disclosed here, I just do not think so and it is a fact the airlines have to be wary and exercise the policy when they have a pregnant traveler at the check in. So, this incident could have been avoided and I just hate to see the airport staying in this state.
@maximax8 (28247)
• United Kingdom
24 Oct 09
I am amazed that Air Asia let a heavily pregnant lady fly on the plane. In my home country ladies expecting one baby are allowed to fly up to 28 weeks pregnancy and then they are allowed with a doctors not saying they are fit to fly. That is up to 32 weeks pregnant. For pregnancy with twins there would be a lower time limit because such babies are often born prematurely. Most airlines won't accept a new born baby. They insist the baby is a minimum of 7 days old. The other passengers went to Kuala Lumpur instead of Kuching. They must have been annoyed about their journey going so wrong but happy that the baby was born alive. I hope that baby boy will grow up a keen traveler. Air Asia will probably write its rules on accepting pregnant ladies on board their planes.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
maximax8, Like you, I am just equally surprised as well. I am just not amused how the check in and boarding gate staff had been casual, too casual, here. I just hope that the staffs will pay more attention here as bookings are now done online and travelers mostly are quite ignorant about the policies of every individual airlines. I am sure that the child will be a keen traveler especially when his mother can have all the reason and ease of traveling extensively together.
• United States
23 Oct 09
How is that the airline's fault? I think it is totally the mothers responsibility whether she travels or not in that condition. If you are going to board a long flight when you could give birth imminently then I really don't see how you can blame the airline.
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
EnglishTeaDuck, I am sorry but I beg to differ. The mother cannot be SOLELY responsible. In case you are unaware but all airlines have a policy for pregnant travelers. Although, it may differ with different airlines but let me assure you that they are all about the same. I think I will elaborate for everybody's knowledge. For one, those who are traveling within four weeks of due date a medical certificate is required (American Airlines further specifies that this rule applies for a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy). Most airlines will forbid domestic travel beyond thirty-six weeks of pregnancy and international travel beyond thirty-two weeks. Now, I am going to anticipate and further elaborate here, that this policy being too technical and that the mother especially for new and inexperience ones, are unaware and that they will not be able to know being nowadays flights are being booked online. So, everything will then be left at the check in counter where the staff will have to verify the mother's fitness for the trip. Just for your info, their duties go beyond checking the identity and baggages of the travelers. When they see a pregnant traveler they have a duty to follow company's policies and safety regulations. So, how do you think that the airline is not a bit or at all responsible?
@jemaries (322)
• Saudi Arabia
24 Oct 09
Well! For this cases its not the responsible of airlines what is happened.For as i know when you are pregnant they are allowing you to ride in the airplane about 6mos or 7mos. only and in the airport they need a medical report that your pregnancy is not your due date of delivery,from the airport they will check you and with medical report,if they found out that you gonna be deliverd they will not accepted you to there airlines thats the policy i know.I've seen news like that one pregnant woman delivered in the airlines.Sometimes they are lucky if there are some passengers who is a doctor or nurse that could help them, what if nobody?
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
jemaries, Thank you for your response here. But, I cannot help but ask you the very question on how a pregnant traveler in her late stages of pregnancy can actually be on board the plane here? I mean you simply just cannot walk into an aircraft prior check in right? So, I am actually questioning if the check in staff had an oversight in this discussion where it led a dramatic rerouting for the airline and make an emergency landing. Care to think otherwise?
@jemaries (322)
• Saudi Arabia
24 Oct 09
some pregnant woman specially first babies, you cannot determine whether its there due date,unless by reports.Because some of them small tummy.Unless they changed in the report that its only 6mos. but its almost the delivery is coming.I have co-workers actually doing this cases, because some reason they want to delivered in philippines so they will go home to my country when there delivery period is coming,and they need to changed the date of how many mos. there babies,because they will not accept in the airport,actually in the airport is very strict.
• Singapore
24 Oct 09
jemaries, And your point, if I may assume that you are faulting the pregnant traveling mother here. Is that what you are trying to indicate? Well, I do see your points raised here and I just want to add there, that they will actually not be covered by their travel insurance if they had done those falsifications. They will end up having a lot of trouble and lives could be lost here. I just hope that you will persuade them out of it if you come to learn of their foolish attempts like these. Take care.