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Stupid question alert - taxi to hospital

(32 Posts)
Numbthumbs Fri 11-Jan-13 14:08:31

Im planning to get a taxi to hospital if i go into labour at night as DP doesnt drive. Due to the terrible weather thats predicted if the taxi wont come out can i just phone an ambulance or is that a horrific waste of resources? My thinking behind that is that if they can get here then thay can help deliver baby if we cant then get to hospital.
Our road is a cul-de-sac on top of a hill and definately wont be gritted.


BonaDea Fri 11-Jan-13 15:03:58

I don't think that is an unreasonable use of resources.

If the weather is so bad that taxis won't come out (and that would make it pretty bad) and your DH doesn't drive, then what other alternative do you have?

A friend of mine was due to give birth last winter when we'd just had some terrible snow. They specifically asked at a late hospital appt what they should do if the roads were blocked etc and were told just to phone an ambulance -they will get to you somehow!

Numbthumbs Fri 11-Jan-13 15:09:34

Thanks for your reply BonaDea, they do have the first response vehicles dont they so they could possibly send one of those so as not to waste and actual ambulance.
I cant see what other alternative i would have except ring 999 and get them to talk us through it! DP is an IT analyst though so dont think hes had much experience of delivering babies.
I hope taxis are running as otherwise i dont know what ill do with DD, my mom was going to get a taxi to us in early labour and she wont drive as shes not very confident at night let alone if its icy or snowing.

The stress of it all grin

Whitetara Fri 11-Jan-13 23:40:38

Hiya I was wondering if it might be worth phoning NHS 24/Direct for advice. Otherwise if you call 999, depending on circumstances, I think you might also be able to request an ambulance if you make it clear you don't need to be blue-lighted to hospital. Might be worth checking with midwife/gp as to what could be provided - there must be something in place as you won't be the first or the last! Best of luck and hope it all goes well for you! smile

Anja1Cam Fri 11-Jan-13 23:47:02

Well, when I had DD1 8+ years ago and Dh doesn't drive and apparently Taxis would likely have refused to take me (so I was told...) I was given the explicit advice (from MW and Hosp) to ring for an ambulance. Ring Hosp to confirm they have a space / you're ready to come in, then I had to dial 999 to get an ambulance. No problem whatsoever, definitely no blue lights! For DD2 I had MIL driving my car (fully insured and everything of course), wonder who was more stressed - me in labour or she negotiating traffic she was not use to grin

KatieRogers12i4 Sat 12-Jan-13 06:50:39

I would go not drive, i don't trust DH for that :-\

ZuleikaD Sat 12-Jan-13 07:17:47

You'll be fine to call an ambulance. But it wouldn't be a bad idea for your DH to read about home births so he can help you in the event you have a wait.

Flisspaps Sat 12-Jan-13 07:36:47

Alternatively you could ask your MW for a home birth pack to be dropped off and ask a MW to come to you on the night instead.

Nishky Sat 12-Jan-13 07:40:09

my friend was told off for taking two buses when the hospital told her to come in!! the midwife had been waiting for her for two hours as it was a Sunday and she had to cross Birmingham! My friend was told she should have called an ambulance so I think you would be justified

Flisspaps, i guess the op has already decided she wants a hospital not home birth

Flisspaps Sat 12-Jan-13 07:43:04

I understand that Nishky, under normal circumstances, but I'm thinking if the roads are that bad, then at least having the pack there might be useful (if a first responder is sent out!) and the OP may find she doesn't want to leave the house!

Just a suggestion, not an order smile

poshfrock Sat 12-Jan-13 07:49:09

I would check ith your MW what the procedure is. When I had DS 14 years ago I was in your situation (although it was July so no snow or ice). I was told that if I called an ambulance we would be charged for it as going into labour is not an emergency. She advised us to call a taxi but on the day when we tried they refused to take me in case I made a mess on their seats - we tried 2 or 3 firms. In the end I had to take the bus.

TwitchyTail Sat 12-Jan-13 09:44:33

As long as you've made an effort first to find alternative transport (taxi, friend, relative etc) and failed, then no, I don't think it's unreasonable to call an ambulance. But I would check with them in advance as they can charge for what they consider to be inappropriate use, which will vary between services.

That said, I would prefer to pay an £80 inappropriate use charge than have my baby on the kitchen floor grin

TwitchyTail Sat 12-Jan-13 09:47:34

Oh, and if you're booking a taxi, don't tell them you're in labour...

Nishky Sat 12-Jan-13 10:02:17

Sorry flisspaps- didn't mean to be snappy. blush

rrreow Sat 12-Jan-13 14:50:54

You could check if your area has patient transport services? We used it when my husband had to go in for a back operation but couldn't walk. It's an actual ambulance but it's not 'emergency'. Although not sure if it would be suitable for when you need it right away. If there are no other options to get to the hospital then I definitely think you should phone an ambulance.

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sat 12-Jan-13 16:40:45

When we had bad snow 18 months ago, my local hospital had people on standby with 4x4s to pick up staff that couldn't get in and pregnant patients! My friend was in a similar situation to you. I presume she rang the labour ward (?) and they sent a 4x4 to pick her up. Of the weather turns their will be someone leading co-ordination of this kind of service and I think if you ring the labour ward they would arrange it for you.

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sat 12-Jan-13 16:41:18

18 months ago? hmm I mean Dec 2011....

nextphase Sat 12-Jan-13 17:01:47

Check in your notes - we were told not to call 999, but phone the maternity ward and explain.
We didn't follow the instructions tho - 999, and the first paramedic made it into the house pre delivery. By the time the second had found some gas and air, I was no longer pregnant! The first thing they asked was if a midwife had been called (err, no!)

Oh, I love telly this story.

Many years ago I had a new next door neighborough move in November, heavily pregant. She was a lovely lady and her husband worked away. I worked very long hours and was not at home much during the week (commuted all over the UK) but I still popper round when she moved in and said "if you need anything just call"!

Well by the time Christmas came we had heavy snow, and she was on her own. I was supposed to be away for work between Christmas and the New Year and I was at home on Boxing day at 3am packing a suit case for my flight, when the phone rang. The house was pitch black as we had a bad power cut and I was packing by candle light

Next Door Neighborough in labour, No husband and could I take her to hopsital as the midwife could not get through the snow. (2 foot thick snow)

So I pop next door thinking and she was "just" in labour only go next door to find she is well and truely in Labour!

So I called the ambulance and the operator talked me through everything baby was born 30mins later ambulance arrived 1 hour later! with the Midwife

Mum and DD were fine and she became my 2nd God Child.

It was just good luck that I had a flight to catch and was at home otherwise Mum and DD would have been all alone in the dark!

Call your birthing unit and check they will have had similar situations befor. Congratulations

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sun 13-Jan-13 17:00:25

Aww how lovely Mummy! Bonding experience and a half! smile

Eletheomel Sun 13-Jan-13 17:19:43

My sister went into labour on christmas night, my dad (the only driver) couldnt took take her to the hospital as he'd had a few festive drinks (she was 3 weeks early, so we weren't expecting it).

Anyway, phoned local hospital a few times, when her contractions were 3 mins apart, they told her to come in, but they said she had to find her own way as they wouldn't send an ambulance.

Anyway, nightmare trying to get a taxi on christmas night! After knockbacks from 5 firms, eventually (in true christmas spirit) the taxi booking man said that he would come and collect her in his own car and take her to the hospital - and he did, turned up 10 mins later and dropped her and her DH at the hospital. She gave birth to a girl 4 hours later.

However, I also have a friend who had went to hospital in labour with her first (she drove there) they sent her home (45 minute drive) as they didnt think it would progress fast, being her first, by the time she got home, her contractions had greatly increased and they ended up having to send an ambulance for her.

Two different healthboards, but it's left me confused as to what the policy is regarding ambulances and labour!

forgetmenots Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:11

Not a stupid question at all. Weather aside, is taxi the normal solution? Or should I ask the MW at next appointment? Would put my mind at rest if there was a transport service, that said if I'm far enough along I will not hesitate to ring an ambulance, charge or not!

TwitchyTail Sun 13-Jan-13 18:06:20

Your poor sister Eletheomel! Glad she got there in the end!

It's worth pointing out that if you call 999 and request an ambulance for a medical emergency (which advanced labour is), they WILL send one. It's up to them whether they charge for it later. Most of the time they don't, but really, if there are no other options risking a charge is preferable to risking your health.

The labour ward/hospital will not usually send an ambulance for you, so there isn't much point calling them. Dial 999 yourself in an emergency. But definitely look into other options in advance.

Eletheomel Sun 13-Jan-13 19:07:13

That's great to know twitchy - as you say, even if they do charge the key thing is that they will send an ambulance for you if you're in advanced labour and dial 999.

I'm hoping DH will be around whenever I go into labour (only 20 wks so have a while to go, but I don't drive) but it does get you wondering if everything goes awry.

I have another friend who lives very near a hospital and ended up having a superfast delivery with her 2nd child (her mum and dad had jsut arrived to take DS1 away, she was in the bath (had a few minor contractions and was trying to ease the pain) and 3 big contractions later she gave birth herself to another baby boy!

When they phoned the hospital, they then sent an ambulance for her to take her and the baby in (given that she lives that close to the hospital - less than 5 mins drive - I don't think anyone could believe that she didn't make it on time! - Needless to say, when it came to number 3, she was keen to make sure she didn't do that again!)

BonaDea Mon 14-Jan-13 14:22:17

I recently watched the online tour of my hospital's labour ward and birthing suite (Kingston hospital). They specifically said in the video that you should not drive yourself and if for some reason you were having trouble getting to the hospital to always phone an ambulance. I have never heard of anyone being charged for one in the UK!

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 14-Jan-13 15:34:16

I have read this thread with interest as my partner and I do not drive. I am surprised that taxis would refuse to take a pregnant woman! A little scary. But I assume if i dont tell them im in labour I will be ok?

janek Mon 14-Jan-13 15:52:32

On the front of my midwife notes there was a number to ring for an ambulance when in labour, not 999, a local number. Is this not universal?

I don't think taxis like people leaking blood, guts and amniotic fluid all over them, and you should most DEFINITELY NOT drive yourself! If you can drive yourself, it's probably not time to go to the hospital yet!

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 14-Jan-13 16:15:39

I am sorry - but if you cant get a taxi I have no clue what women are supposed to do who dont drive and their partners dont drive - and who dont live anywhere near any friends or family. I cant be the only one. The taxi will simply HAVE to take me.
This is my first baby and I may be pretty clueless - but surely it isnt like a Tarantino film re:blood,guts,gore when you realise you are in labour?

cyclecamper Mon 14-Jan-13 16:21:25

There is quite a lot of blood and fluid in labour. Just call an ambulance. We don't have a car so I probably won't have an option either.

ZuleikaD Mon 14-Jan-13 16:41:45

Of course you can get a taxi! I've got taxis for both my previous labours and have every intention of doing so with this one. Unless your waters break on the way you won't be leaking anything until you get to the pushing stage and if your waters have gone (or you're worried about them going) just take a towel to sit on.

Minniesbowtique Mon 14-Jan-13 19:05:23

Taking a taxi is absolutely fine and expected if you have no driver. Please do not call an ambulance unless it is an emergency, it is a complete waste of resources and having had 9 months to plan how to get into hospital I always take a dim view of women who use the ambulance service as some form of free taxi. The ambulance service will always send an ambulance to a women who rings up in ?labour as tbh they're terrified of pregnant women but rarely are they required. Ring delivery suite or the assessment unit, however your hospital works and if they feel an ambulance is warranted then they will either arrange it for you or tell you to get one. Also be aware that if you come into hospital via ambulance and yo are not deemed to be in active labour you would have to find your own way home.

Numbthumbs Tue 15-Jan-13 10:25:04

Thanks for all the replies, sorry i havent been back to the thread, internet has been playing up.

I have a midwife appointment tomorrow (39+3) so i will ask her what the correct procedure is, i asked a friend yesterday and she seems to remember seeing a lady in labour getting out of the back of a non-emergency ambulance/transport service when she was at antenatal clinic, maybe thats something my hospital offers.

Just to be clear, i am not PLANNING on getting an ambulance unless it is an absolute necessity, i work for the NHS and know how stretched the resources are, i just wondered what i could do if a taxi cant get out due to the snow that we have here. If its in the daytime i have no problem its just in case it happens in the night (which it did last time but it was june). The plan is for my parents to get a taxi here to watch DD and then we take the taxi on to hospital.

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