Discovery Health's hit docu-series, Deliver Me, follows the careers and personal lives of Drs. Yvonne Bohn, Allison Hill and Alane Park -- best friends who became partners in a demanding Los Angeles OB/GYN practice specializing in high-risk pregnancies.
What was the most memorable unbelievable birthing situation in your career?
Allison Hill: I had finished making rounds on a Saturday and stopped off at the grocery store on my way home. As I got out of the car in the parking lot, I heard a man yelling that his wife was having a baby. I looked around in disbelief, wondering if someone was pulling a joke on me.
I looked toward the man, and I saw his car with the back door open and two feet sticking out. He seemed completely panicked. I went over the car -- and sure enough -- there was a woman in the back seat with half of her baby's head coming out. I told them not to worry, explained I was a doctor, and proceeded to reach down and deliver the baby in the back seat of the car. After the baby was born, I wrapped it up in a jacket, put it on her lap, and followed them the last few blocks to the hospital. Mom and baby did great -- but I will never shop at that Food-for-Less, after a busy Saturday!
Do you have any tips to share on what to do when you find yourself in an unfortunate and/or unplanned situation when going into labor?
Yvonne Bohn: The mom is usually a seasoned mom. Most first-timers have time to make it to the hospital unless the baby is very small or premature.
The exception to this case was the mom who delivered twice in the car. She delivered her first baby rapidly with her mother assisting her in protecting the baby. The cord was cut and placenta delivered at the hospital. The second time the mom had been cautioned to stay at the hospital to avoid this situation, but she refused. Her labor went super fast and she delivered on the 101 Freeway. Her mom was again there and delivered the second baby. They arrived at the hospital to cut cord and deliver placenta.
If the baby is coming fast, the mom will fill pressure and will push when she feels ready. If you are assisting her, support the head and watch for the body because it will come quickly. Don't drop the baby. It is best to have Mom lying down on the floor, bed, couch or back of the car. Once baby is out, place the baby on Mom's chest. You do not have to cut the cord. You can wait for the placenta to deliver as well. You can come to the hospital with the placenta still in the uterus.
Rub the baby's back gently to stimulate crying and keep the baby warm. You may need to change the towels because the baby needs to be warm. Having the baby on the Mom's chest is the best warmer, skin' to skin.
What about the deliveries we saw on television growing up? Don't we need to boil water and smack the baby's bottom?
Yvonne Bohn: You do not have to deliver the placenta. It can stay in the uterus until you get some help. Hot water is good to clean your hands, but birth is not a sterile process. Warm towels are good to keep baby warm. Keep the baby on Mom's chest -- skin to skin -- with dry warm blanket on top. We do not smack the baby's butt; however, we do rub the baby's back to get it to cry.
Any insight into why some moms deliver faster than others?
Yvonne Bohn: The speed at which a woman will deliver cannot be predicted ahead of time. It is something genetic in the mom that allows her to deliver quickly. Once a mother has delivered quickly, it is good information for subsequent pregnancies because these will usually come quickly, too. In general, a smaller or pre-term baby will deliver faster than a larger postdates baby.
From your experience as a doctor, can you deconstruct the notion of how it's possible for someone to NOT KNOW that they are pregnant?
Alane Park: I have been pregnant twice. Babies' movements are quite distinct. There is nothing like it. It is hard to describe the sensation, unless you've actually been pregnant yourself. But I suppose there could be reasons how you could not know you are pregnant.
1. You have irregular periods, and you never checked a pregnancy test.
2. If the placenta is located on the front side of your uterus, there is an extra layer of tissue between the baby and you. That could make it difficult to feel movement.
3. You are overweight. Again, there is a lot more tissue between the baby and you.
4. However, the most likely reason is denial. The human mind is a very powerful force, and I think some women really believe that they are not pregnant, when clearly they are.
I had a very nice woman that came in to see me many years ago. She was nearing her mid-40's and thought she was going through menopause. She said she had not had a period in four to five months, and she was feeling more tired than usual.
On exam, she had an enlarged uterus. I thought she had fibroids, which are benign tumors in the uterus that can make the uterus larger. I did an ultrasound to check for fibroids, but instead I saw a baby, growing in her uterus.
Needless to say, my patient was in shock. She genuinely had no idea she was five months pregnant, despite the obvious pooch in her lower belly.
Check in with Drs. Bohn, Hill and Park, as they host Discovery Health's Baby Week special, The 10 Most Unbelievable Births on Friday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.