How to get a woman in labour to hospital…when you don’t have a car

At my last Beer + Bubs session in Sydney, I was asked a question I have never been asked before. An expectant dad named Jeremy was wondering how best to transport his labouring partner to hospital on the big day when he doesn’t have a car. Another guy in the same group put his hand up to admit to being in the same predicament. Getting a labouring woman from home to hospital safely and comfortably is one of the most important jobs a supportive partner can do but it’s a bit trickier if you don’t have your own wheels.

Here are your options:

Call a cab: we asked Legion Taxis if there would be a problem transporting a labouring woman to hospital and the operator was unsure. She said that cab drivers are not ambulance officers. Hmmm, we’re aware of that. But she went on to say that they could decline the fare if they thought it was an emergency. One of the men who is facing this problem said this: “I did a practice last night at one in the morning. I walked to the nearest taxi stand (which took 5 minutes) and asked the first cab in the rank if he could take me home and pick up my pregnant wife and go to hospital. He was OK with it, and if not I guess one of the other ten taxis in the rank would be. I also called Taxis Combined and Silver Service and the operator said it was OK. But I don’t think I could trust booking a taxi and waiting for it to turn up.”

Call an ambulance: we asked an ambo officer what the story was here and she confirmed that ambulances are often called to pick up women in labour. However, birth has to be imminent for them to transfer her to hospital. If she’s in early labour, they will not take her to hospital. Amulances are not a transport service (unless you have a valid pension card).

Hire a car: this one is tricky when you’re unsure exactly when your baby will be born but most large car rental companies will be able to supply a vehicle if you walk in off the street – it just might be a people mover.

Car share: There are pay by the hour car share services such as Goget in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can book a car on the automated phone service or book online at www.goget.com.au. Beware, if the car is booked by someone else for the following day and you’re still hard at work in hospital with your partner, you will be fined.

Ask a friend or neighbour to be on call: people are usually thrilled to be asked to help out in some way on the day a baby is born. Just make sure that this person is available 24/7 because you may need to haul them out of bed at 4am.

Consider a home birth: no need to travel anywhere and your midwife comes to you!

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