Woman Gives Birth on Transatlantic Flight to D.C. With Doctor's Help

A baby was successfully delivered during a transatlantic flight over the weekend.

The pregnant mother went into labor with just two hours remaining of an 11-hour flight from Accra, Ghana, in West Africa to Washington D.C. operated by United Airlines, industry news site Paddle Your Own Kanoo reported.

The baby was born as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—which took off at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday local time and landed at around 5:30 a.m. Sunday—was cruising at an altitude of around 30,000 feet.

"The delivery was uneventful... Other than being at 30,000 feet," a United Airlines spokesperson told Paddle Your Own Kanoo, confirming that the mother and baby were doing well.

Fortunately for the pregnant woman, a Ghanaian doctor based in the U.S. was traveling on the flight. In addition, one of the flight attendants on the route was a registered nurse.

The other flight attendants have also been trained to deal with emergency childbirth situations.

Together, the doctor and the trained flight attendant—with the help of the other crew members—were able to ensure that the birth went smoothly, despite the plane being thousands of miles away from the nearest hospital.

After the flight touched down at Dulles International Airport, a ground team from United Airlines met passengers and crew with balloons and a card in celebration of the birth.

CBS affiliate WUSA9 reported that the message in the card said: "On behalf of the United Team at Washington Dulles, congratulations on your new baby boy!"

The mother and her new baby taken to a hospital in the area after disembarking, according to a United spokesperson.

This is not the first time that a baby has been born mid-flight in January. Earlier this month, a Canadian doctor successfully delivered a baby on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, Qatar, to Entebbe in Uganda.

A Ugandan worker, who was traveling home from Saudi Arabia, went into labor about one hour into the journey, prompting the flight crew to put out a call on the intercom asking if there was a doctor on board.

Dr. Aisha Khatib, a professor at the University of Toronto, told the BBC that she did not hesitate to come forward when the call came out.

"I see a crowd of people gathered around the patient," Khatib told the BBC, thinking a passenger had suffered a heart attack or another critical health issue.

"As I got closer see this woman lying on the seat with her head toward the aisle and feet towards the window. And the baby was coming out!"

Other babies have also been born mid-flight over the past couple of years, including on flight from N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, to Cairo, Egypt; Delhi to Bangalore in India; and a plane on course to Anchorage, Alaska.

A newborn baby
Stock image showing a newborn baby. A child was born during a transatlantic flight from Accra, Ghana, to Washington D.C. over the weekend. iStock