Southwest flight diverted when woman gives birth on-board

Southwest Airplane

A woman gave new meaning to the phrase “baby on board” when she delivered a baby during a Southwest flight from San Francisco to Phoenix this morning. The plane was diverted to Los Angeles, where the woman and her new baby were met by paramedics.

Southwest Airlines spokesperson Emily Samuels told Los Angeles’ KTLA the woman gave birth “slightly” after takeoff, giving the baby the unique distinction of being born at roughly 30,000 feet.

Fortuitously, a doctor and nurse were on the flight and were able to help. Upon landing, mother and baby were immediately treated by paramedics and taken to a local hospital, said LAFD spokesman Erik Scott. He added, “LAFD praises an ER RN that assisted the mother in giving birth prior to our arrival.”

Both mother and baby were transported to a hospital where they are said to be in good condition. After a two and a half hour delay, the other passengers continued on to Phoenix.

UPDATE It’s unclear how far along the woman was, but here are Southwest Airline’s recommendations for pregnant passengers…

While air travel does not usually cause problems during pregnancy unless delivery is expected within 14 days or less, in some cases, traveling by air has been known to cause complications or premature labor. Female Customers at any stage of pregnancy should consult with their physicians prior to air travel. Southwest Airlines recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy.

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