What if I Go into Labor During a Snowstorm?
Although it really doesn’t happen very often, a pregnant person’s greatest fears when due during the winter is:
“What if I go into labor during a snowstorm?”
Despite the worries about weather, it is generally not a big problem. Women usually do not go into labor during a snowstorm but rather prior to the storm when the barometric pressure changes. Once the storm begins, the anxiety a woman feels looking out a snowstorm will usually keep her labor at bay until it is safer to drive. So be ready but don’t spend too much time fretting about the weather. Your time is best spent relaxing and preparing for the work of labor and birth.
Tips to Alleviate Anxiety as Your Winter Due Date Approaches.
- Be READY to leave for the hospital in a minute’s notice. That means have your bags packed, gas and infant car seat in the car and someone close by for childcare.
- Keep cell phones charged and be sure to have a car charger in the car.
- Put the hospital/birth center address in your GPS now.
- Prepare for a possible roadside delivery. If the labor goes quickly when your car must go slowly, there is the possibility of a car birth. Have your partner read about emergency birth and pack a few items that would make the experience less harrowing.
- Consider moving closer to the birthing facility when you are in early labor so that the trip can be made when both you and your partner are calmer and in less of a hurry. You could go to a hotel or a family member’s home so that the weather won’t be a factor when determining when to go to the hospital and you won’t be tempted to go to the hospital too early. Why it’s best to do Early Labor at Home.
- If your labor is rapid-fire, consider calling for an ambulance especially if you don’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. It would be better to deliver in the safety of your home with emergency personnel present or on their way and avoid the risk of an accident on a slippery road.
Tips for an Emergency Birth
Sometimes babies come quickly or more quickly than expected. Women can have labors less than 3 hours long, or even if the labor is a normal length, the baby may come out quickly once she reaches 10cm. Either way, it is best to know what to do if the baby is coming and you aren’t with your healthcare professional.
First, remember that babies born quickly are almost always completely fine at birth. The following tips should help you and your partner feel calmer if you go into labor during a snowstorm.
- Even when you feel pressure to push, you can usually still have time. Keep blowing through the contractions and don’t push purposely.
- If you think you are about to give birth, check for the baby’s head. Put your finger in your vagina. Don’t tell your partner to stop driving if your finger goes an inch or more into your vagina before touching something firm/hard. Just do your best to delay the delivery.
- If the head is right at the entrance of the vagina and you have a strong, uncontrollable urge to push or have a bowel movement, put yourself in the safest possible place for delivery. If you are planning a homebirth, you should not deliver in the tub without your provider present. Lay on the bed or floor, maybe on your side. If in a car, have the driver stop the vehicle in a safe place, well off the road, and turn on the flashers.
- Call for help. Dial 911 and after that call your provider. We have delivered many babies over the phone!
- Stay calm. Everything will be ok.
- No one needs to pull the baby out, just have your partner catch the baby. The complications of childbirth like cord around the neck, baby stuck and baby not breathing almost NEVER happen in a rapid delivery like this.
- Dry the baby, put the baby directly against your skin to keep it warm and make the place of birth as warm as possible. Then wait for the emergency personnel or finish the drive to the hospital if it is close by. There is no need to cut the cord.
- Generally, the placenta delivers once the woman has someone to help her but if not, it is ok if the placenta delivers while still attached to the baby. Many times, it sits in the vagina until the woman is encouraged to push it out.
Emergency Birth Kit
Here are a few things to have handy as your birth approaches just in case your baby decides to make a precipitous arrival!
- Try to complete an infant/child CPR course before the end of your pregnancy. This is good information for all people who are around children. Hospitals, community centers, and local chapters of the American Red Cross and American Heart Association offer CPR classes.
- A waterproof absorbent pad for the seat of your car. They are sometimes called chux pads.
- A couple of old bath towels
- An old, warm blanket
- Have the Provider’s phone number readily available in your phone.
Most of the time “emergent” birth is really the most normal birth a woman can have. When the baby is coming out, nothing is wrong. So enjoy your birth!