Baby Born on Highway … Again — Why Does This Keep Happening?

Police officers delivered a baby girl on the side of the highway on I-85 in North Carolina.

I-85 in North Carolina was home to the latest roadside birth.

If I discovered a pregnant woman about to give birth on the side of a highway, I know exactly what I’d do.

I would panic. A lot.

I think the fact that I’ve birthed two children of my own would make me even more panicky about the situation than if I were my old, child-free self. I remember how painful and hard labor was, even in the comfort of an adjustable hospital bed…

…but doing it in a backseat or outside with other cars whizzing past at 70 miles per hour? I might faint having to watch some poor woman endure that — and then they’d have to call a second ambulance for me. Awkward!

Fortunately, our first responders are made of heartier stock. They seem to be pretty good at delivering babies on the side of the road, as in the most recent case of Durham, North Carolina police officer Gabriel Munter, who delivered a baby on the side of Interstate 85, WNCN.com reported.

“The baby was coming out. I scooped up the baby and took the cord from around her neck. I bundled the baby in towels and put her on the mother’s chest. I told them they had a baby girl,” Munter said.

Both the mother and baby are reported to be doing well.

I hesitated about blogging about this story at first because it struck me as yet another baby-born-on-the-side-of-a-highway story … and then I realized that the fact that these stories are a dime-a-dozen was noteworthy in itself.

Google the phrase “baby born on highway,” and you’ll get no fewer than 31,000 hits, with examples of roadside births in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Utah, just to name a few.

Why does this keep happening? Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of reasons:

1. We drive a great deal. Americans are more dependent on cars than people in other countries where public transportation is more prominent. And we do a lot in our vehicles — eat, apply makeup, nap, pump breast milk, etc. It makes sense that sometimes, however unintentionally, labor happens there, too.

2. Some people, including pregnant women, have to drive a long way to get to hospitals, particularly in under-served rural areas. This past summer, a pregnant woman delivered twins on the side of Interstate 80 in Utah after she and a friend couldn’t find any hospitals near the tourist town they were vacationing in at the time.

At least one couple embraced their highway birth. The Kings, of Maine, gave their son the middle name of “Miles” in 2012, they told TV station WKYC.

“We named our son Logan Miles,” mom Kathleen King said, “because we only made it a few miles from home.”

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photo via Wikimedia Commons

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