Classic New York Story: Baby Born on Subway Platform


On Friday, Kelly Xion, with the help of two New York firefighters, gave birth to a her baby boy on the subway platform.

What a classic sweltering New York summer story– surely those annoying summer construction delays are to blame! But the poor woman: It must have been a good 100 degrees down in the subway last Friday. Bikram childbirth?

Recently, in a childbirth ed class one of my students asked if it was a good idea to take the subway to the hospital when in labor. She had no modesty ,and thought she could use the poles and handholds to help her with a supported squat: “I’ll clear the car!” she enthused. The group proceeded to have a lively convo about the pros and cons of laboring on the subway: Which line?  Rush-hour vs late night? Express vs local? How many stops? Everyone chimed in. It was truly Seinfeldian. No one else wanted to labor on the train, but they weren’t that shocked. I told her she should do whatever she felt comfortable doing, but I did bring up the idea that being in public and having to deal with the hassles and logistics of public transportation can be a huge drag when you’re in active, active labor.

I’ve been wondering for months whether she went for it. I just got an email last week: She took the subway to the hospital in active labor. No drama. No firefighters. Everyone’s fine. (I don’t know if she dangled from straps or cleared the car.)

The stories about subway or car births are so spectacular but they are really, really unusual! So please don’t get freaked out about giving birth before you get to the hospital. There are about 250,000 births a year in NYC and you hear of a cab or subway birth only once in a blue moon. It’s especially rare for first time moms. Generally, it’s a really good idea to stay home for as long as possible in early and early active labor.

photo: Dilworth Designs/Flickr

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