Woman gives birth on flight from Ghana to USA

Francis Akhalbey February 02, 2022
A pregnant mother gave birth while on a flight from Ghana to the USA -- Photo Credit: Nancy Adobea Anane/ BBC

An expectant mother suddenly went into labor and gave birth to a baby boy while she was on a United Airlines flight that was headed to the United States from Ghana. According to BBC, the unexpected and premature mid-flight birth happened on January 29.

An eyewitness said the expectant mother’s due date was scheduled for late February. But a Ghanaian doctor who was on the flight ended up having to convert the business class area of the plane into a makeshift maternity ward to oversee the unexpected delivery.

Nancy Adobea Anane, a journalist who was on the flight, recalled passengers were initially confused when an onboard call for assistance was made in the wake of the emergency.

“Most of them heard the call for assistance from medical personnel but didn’t know what was going on,” she told BBC News Pidgin. “I became anxious for the safety of the baby and mother, and the possibility of a detour for an emergency landing.”

Dr. Stephen Ansah-Addo, a dermatology resident at the University of Michigan, offered his services and helped deliver the baby after he heard the call for assistance. “Myself, a nurse and the flight attendants… took [the mother] slowly through the process and she delivered a beautiful baby boy,” Dr. Stephen Ansah-Addo said.

Ms. Anane also said the “delivery was quick, like 30 to 45 minutes,” adding that there was “screaming and the familiar cry of the baby” afterward. Both mother and baby received further medical attention after the plane touched down in Washington.

“Our crew was amazing, they acted quickly, assisted the medical professionals onboard and ensured everyone stayed safe throughout the flight,” United said in a statement to CNN Travel. “And we were especially thrilled to see the plane land with one extra, especially beautiful, customer on board.”

There have been other reported instances of childbirths on flights – though it is uncommon. In January, a Canadian doctor oversaw the delivery of a baby during a flight from Saudi Arabia to Uganda, BBC reported.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says expectant mothers who have clocked 37 weeks of pregnancy have a naturally higher possibility of going into labor. As a result, some airlines don’t allow pregnant women who fall within that category to board their flights.

The NHS also says flying while pregnant doesn’t really pose any serious danger to both mother and baby. It, however, advises that expectant mothers who have health problems or pregnancy complications should consult a doctor or midwife before flying.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 2, 2022


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