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Can you drive to hospital yourself when you go into labour?

(32 Posts)
HPonEverything Tue 26-Jul-11 15:11:34

I'm obviously in a thread-starting mood today!

I'm due early October but my DH is going away for a week in mid September and will be a 5 to 6 hour drive away. All our family(ies) live the same 5 to 6 hour distance so there is really nobody who could be around 'just in case'. We live in a rural place and the hospital is at least 30mins away.

My neighbour is very lovely, we've spoken to him and he will take me if he's around, but he works nights and sometimes in the day (long distance trucker) so may not be there.

In the unlikely event that my baby comes early (it's my first, and I'm told they're normally late if anything), would I be able to drive myself to hospital or is this a complete no-no? What are the practicalities of doing this, e.g. what's the earliest or latest I could go without them having a go at me for being too early, or the baby popping out while I'm stuck at traffic lights?

I hate the idea of wasting NHS/paramedic's time and have never called 999 so I'm not sure if it would be reasonable to call an ambulance in this situation or if they'd be mad at me for not getting myself there.

crispyseaweed Tue 26-Jul-11 15:12:55

No it would be very foolish.. . . .

mousymouse Tue 26-Jul-11 15:15:59

no, even if you are not in that much pain, you will be very distracted.

ask mini cab companies in your area, they are not allowed to refuse to transport you.

LoveInAColdChamberOfSecrets Tue 26-Jul-11 15:17:21

I'm sure you could call an ambulance if you went into labour and no one was around to drive you - I'm certain they'd understand.

ragged Tue 26-Jul-11 15:18:24

I think the problem is that in early labour you could go up there safely enough, but by the time you know it's real labour it will be way too distracting.

You could plan for a homebirth smile.

ragged Tue 26-Jul-11 15:19:18

You don't call 999, by the way, you call the labour suite at hospital & explain the situation & they will arrange for an ambulance (and they will assess how quickly you need it).

bumbums Tue 26-Jul-11 15:19:33

I don't think its gonna work you driving yourself. You might have a bad contraction at the wheel and crash.
What about a taxi? Or have a friend to stay while DH is away? Or if no other way to get to hospital please feel free to dial 999 and get an ambulance to take you. You pay your taxes and think of all the drunks who get a lift to hospital on a friday night!
Make a plan cos this'll keep you up at night worrying. And anxiety is not good for you.

nickelbabe Tue 26-Jul-11 15:20:26

no, I would say that's the one thing you can't do.

if you have a contraction while you are driving, you will not be able to concentrate, and you would be the same liability as someone having a stroke or a fit at the wheel.

I would advise that if you think your DP is not going to be ther, then plan for a homebirth .
if anything goes wrong, the midwife will call an ambulance.

do not even be tempted to drive yourself while in labour.

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 15:20:35

<tries to imagine driving whilst in labour>

Nope, not a wise idea. I only coped with contractions by curling up in a ball and begging alternately to be put down or for dh not to let me die. If I'd been driving, I'd have just put my foot down and driven at the nearest wall.

It's quite hard to mirror, signal, manoeuvre when your uterus is contracting so hard you feel like you're splitting in half.

worldgonecrazy Tue 26-Jul-11 15:21:35

First babies can come early. If you are in early labour then you could probably drive, but definitely not once labour is underway. Given the circumstances the hospital may keep you in if you are in early labour. I went in earlyish labour and though they would normally have sent me home, due to the appaling weather they kept me in.

Bunbaker Tue 26-Jul-11 15:25:24

Quite apart from the sensible reasons already given here not to drive, would you be covered by your car insurance?

lawnimp Tue 26-Jul-11 15:26:24

some poor woman died doing that sad

notcitrus Tue 26-Jul-11 15:26:43

No. You can phone a local minicab firm and explain the situation, and they should then promise to send a driver immediately if you call in labour, complete with bin bags to sit on.

Should one need lots of cabs in late pregnancy due to inability to walk, you may end up with lots of cab drivers disappointed they don't get the woman-in-labour story to tell!

Georgimama Tue 26-Jul-11 15:30:31

You couldn't possibly drive yourself once you were in established enough labour to need to be in hospital. You need to either equip yourself with some numbers of minicab firms who will be prepared to take a labouring woman (and make sure you have rubber sheets you can take in the cab with you) or discuss possible need for hospital transport with your midwife. In an absolute emergency you dial 999. Do not attempt to drive yourself under any circumstances.

pookamoo Tue 26-Jul-11 15:30:56

Definitely not a good idea to drive yourself, but as ragged says, you don't just call 999, you speak to the hospital delivery suite, and they will tell you the best thing to do.

Some hospitals have their "own" recommended taxi companies, so maybe if you chat to your midwife, she can give you their details.

The other reason it's not a great idea to drive yourself is that sometimes they send you home! So you'd need to contemplate going back and forth a couple of times, and in my experience, there's no way you could do that yourself!

HPonEverything Tue 26-Jul-11 15:37:39

OK some good points made and good suggestions - I won't drive myself. When you've never done something before it's hard to know how it'll be, IYSWIM.

I think it will have to be a taxi and a bit of prior planning then. Thanks for the views!

LifeOfKate Tue 26-Jul-11 15:50:55

Well, all I can say is that I could barely breathe when having contractions once in established labour, never mind sit down in the seat of a car, have a seatbelt on and operate a moving vehicle!
I think calling an ambulance in those circumstances would be entirely reasonable.

LifeOfKate Tue 26-Jul-11 15:54:47

Ooo, cross-posted with lots of responses! Good plan to ring the labour ward and for them to arrange an ambulance if necessary, or for you to try and sort out with a cab firm smile Good luck!

Bartimaeus Tue 26-Jul-11 15:57:32

My midwife said driving yourself was a definate no (think you've got the message! grin )

Here (Paris) there is at least one taxi company that legally has to take a woman who is in labour, other than that we were told to organise an ambulance (not an emergency ambulance but a transport ambulance IYSWIM?). We were also told not to walk in, unless you really live less than 5 minutes walk away.

I'm 15 minutes walk but have been told to come in once the contractions are 5 minutes apart so walking would a) take ages and b) be very difficult!

I second asking your midwife what she recommends. You can't be the only person in this situation!

MrsChemist Tue 26-Jul-11 16:04:18

I didn't even think about the possibility of the taxi people refusing us. We just rang up, and the taxi driver got a bit of a shock when he arrived.

Bit mean of us actually, thinking about it, but at the time my waters had broken and I didn't really think labour had started, so wasn't in a rush.

It sure as hell had started by the time we got there though.

Bartimaeus Tue 26-Jul-11 16:09:57

MrsC Yeah I hadn't thought of the taxi problem until our midwife told us to only use one company, the others can and will refuse sad (suppose it's to avoid leakage? not sure)

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 16:15:21

My mother walked to the hospital in labour with both my brother and me. It was an hour's walk. She isn't normal though.

mousymouse Tue 26-Jul-11 16:15:44

taxi companies are not allowed to refuse transport, the midwife told us during the labour ward tour.
but she also said to tell them it is for transport to a hospital and not to mention the labour part.

nickelbabe Tue 26-Jul-11 16:18:06

walking's fine - it's supposed to be good for pains anyway grin
(apparently, i am yet to test this theory hmm )
you can't kill someone at 30mph when you're walking smile

thesurgeonsmate Tue 26-Jul-11 16:22:09

mousy I had the opposite advice! My MW said if you tell them you're in labour they'll be sure to send the driver who can take it in their stride; if you don't you risk getting someone who will balk. I had transport issues, and I am a very regular taxi user, so in late pregnancy I started asking all the taxi drivers about this. The overall vibe I got was that there was unlikely to be any problem with a taxi solution.

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