What triggers labor? No one really knowsIt happens often enough in movies and novels. But in reality, it’s rare that babies are born en route to the hospital.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
It happens often enough in movies and novels.
But in reality, it’s rare that babies are born en route to the hospital.
In the 14 years since she joined the OB-GYN department at Fairview Red Wing Medical Center, Dr. Karen DeLuca can recall only two instances when babies arrived before the mother reached the hospital.
The unpredictability of births is well known.
“It’ll happen when it’s going to happen,” DeLuca said.
There are lots of old wive’s tales regarding the onset of labor, she said.
Some people blame low barometric pressure, and a nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where 16 babies were born in 17 hours on July 10, said, “It’s usually a full moon or a storm.”
“It’s as good an explanation as any,” DeLuca said.
In fact, she added, no one really knows what triggers labor. The mechanics are understood. “But what’s the signal that turns it on? We don’t know.”
Clear answers would be beneficial.
“It would be nice to know what to test, what to look for,” she said, because that might make it possible to stop early deliveries.
“But in the world of OB, many things are not known.”
Pregnant moms should know the signs of imminent birth. If contractions are five minutes apart and painful, or if the mother has a “bloody show” or a gush of water, she should come in for evaluation, DeLuca said.
Women frequently have early labor a couple of days or a couple of weeks before they are due, she said. Also, first babies often take longer than succeeding children.
“However,” she said, “it’s very individual.”
Birth en route to the hospital can be dangerous for both mother and baby, DeLuca said. It’s important to keep the baby warm, make sure the mother is stable, and come to the hospital as soon as possible, she said.
“Usually, everything goes fine,” DeLuca added.