When a pregnant woman in her mid-30s felt pain and complained to the cabin crew of Indigo 6E 122 flight Delhi-Bengaluru, little did she know that her baby would be born mid-air.

This was just 15 minutes after the flight took off from Delhi on October 7. When the cabin crew asked if there was a doctor on board, a plastic surgeon Nagaraj attended to her and suspected indigestion.

But as pain did not subside, the crew asked if there was another doctor on board. That was when Sailaja V., a consultant gynaecologist with Cloudnine hospital, rose to help. However, the woman, in a state of restlessness, walked towards the restroom and that was when her water broke.

“I realised she was into labour, and that her pregnancy was at least 32 week old. She was alone and had not seen a doctor before. I sanitised myself, wore the gloves, and started the delivery process. We used whatever we could lay our hands on. After cutting the umbilical cord, I used the gauze as no clamps were available. The premature male baby was born at 6.10 p.m. near Bhopal,” Dr. Sailaja told The Hindu.

“The mother was bleeding and we needed clothes. Passengers came forward to help and we used shawls to wrap the mother and the child. Bags were placed to make an elevated bed on the three-seater row for the mother,” she said adding that it was a great feeling to hold the baby.

Dr. Sailaja said she was happy to have saved two lives and do justice to what she had learnt. “The lady was extremely strong and it was her second baby.” About the response from other passengers, the doctor said, “Passengers were extremely cooperative; they were thrilled, amazed, and fearful. When the pilot announced that there is a new member on board, everyone applauded.”

She said the crew was extremely supportive, and stressed on the need for airlines to train staff to deal with such emergencies. “Airlines should engage with maternity hospitals to train their staff to give basic training, this will help a lot.”

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