Guest Column

Passengers assist as mom delivers premature baby on board high-speed train

(Right to Life UK) A baby was born prematurely aboard a high-speed train from Rome to Turin, as her mum was supported by the kindness of fellow passengers and a video call with a midwife.

The woman received cheers as her baby, Anna, was born at around midday on Tuesday 4 July after a 40-minute labour on board the high-speed passenger train run by Trenitalia.

Dial Daniella for delivery

When it became clear that the heavily-pregnant passenger was in labour, train staff asked if there was a doctor on board. Health worker, Isabella Carnero, who was travelling to visit her mother in Turin, responded to the call for help by contacting her midwife colleague, Daniella Sanfilippo.

Despite it being her day off and initially thinking it was a joke, Daniella jumped into action when she realised what was happening. She supported the mother via video call, talking her through the delivery. Staff were described as “perfect” as they supported the woman to give birth to her second child.

“The most beautiful day of my career”

The train manager for the journey, Loredana Ferreri, said “I’m happy to have contributed to this beautiful moment. I’ve been working for Trenitalia since 1995 and I think this will remain the most … beautiful day of my professional career”.

Other passengers were also quick to help, with an 86-year-old lady offering freshly laundered sheets.

The train was diverted to the nearest stop so that mum and baby could be seen in hospital. Amazingly, the train was only 30 minutes late to Turin.

Improving outcomes for premature babies

A study, ‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.

The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation in 19 academic medical centres across the US.

This means that almost four out of five extremely prematurely-born babies survived and were able to be assessed at 22-26 months corrected age (22-26 months from their due date) for a number of health and functional outcomes.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “It’s heartwarming to hear how little Anna safely arrived in these unusual circumstances. The generosity of these strangers is a reminder of how precious life is and how we can welcome life in situations we might never have imagined. How wonderful to see a midwife taking time out of her day off to support this mum via video call, keeping the safety of mothers and babies as her top priority”.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Right to Life UK and is reprinted here with permission.

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