Roadside Babies Becoming More Common

More babies are being delivered in places like parking lots and gas stations and the deliveries are performed by people other than doctors, nurses and mid-wives, according to statistics obtained by NBC 5 Investigates.

Centers for Disease Control birth records show an almost 20 percent spike since 2009 in baby deliveries outside homes, hospitals and clinics.

Alma Martinez of Park City was in labor when she and her boyfriend were driving to Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville last month. But they hit road construction during morning rush hour.

When they finally made it to the hospital, Julie gave birth in the parking lot.

"I don't even remember pushing," Martinez said. "Her head was just there."

Some babies won't wait for a hospital in a race against time.

A nearby crash and traffic jam forced Hector Morales and his pregnant fiance, Katie, to stop at a Cicero gas station in January.

"That's where the baby was gonna be born," Morales said during a January press conference.

Illinois birth records are not as recent, but in 2009 there were 80 baby deliveries while en route to the hospital, at an address other than the mother, or at a named place like a store or fire department.

AAA attributes the nation's rise in curbside births to increasing traffic. The American Congress of OB-GYNs said more women are opting for more distant doctors and hospitals, raising the risk of traffic-induced deliveries.

Dr. Tamika Auguste is a representative of the American Congress of OB-GYNs. She said if there are known complications with the baby or mother, a curbside delivery could cause health problems.

Research also shows a 50 percent spike in the number of women choosing to give birth at home since 2004. But the CDC says many women who intend to deliver at home must ultimately be hospitalized.

Paramedics are often the first to respond to the scene of roadside births when traditional doctors, nurses and mid-wives are not around.

Jim Witteman of Med-Ex said he's helped deliver three babies during his career. He said paramedics are ready and equipped to respond.

"We not only have a baby but we have the mom," Witteman said. "Possibly two patients that we have to deal with."

Paramedic Aracely Ramirez said delivering babies is a big part of training. And she called the experience of helping to deliver a baby an "adrenaline rush."

"It was very memorable experience," Ramirez said.

Baby Julie may not have waited for the hospital, but the one month old is sleeping well and her mom is happy.

"I'm glad that everything turned out well, but I wouldn't want to do that again," Ramirez said. "It was kind of scary."

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