Miracle at 30,000 Feet: What Happens If You Give Birth On A Plane?


Have you ever wondered What Happens If You Give Birth On a Plane? Who delivers the baby? Where do you deliver the baby? What is the child’s citizenship, and do they get free trips for life?

Pregnant Women Can Fly

pregnant women in airport in from of departure sign
Photo credit: cunaplus via DepositPhotos.

Pregnant women can fly. There are certainly many women, very early in their pregnancy, who fly all the time and no one even knows. But as it gets closer to the birth date, rules come into play.

Different Airlines Have Different Rules

woman in pale green dress holding pregnant belly.woman in pale green dress holding pregnant belly.
Photo credit: Winnie Bruce via Canva.

Just as different airlines have all sorts of different routes, plane configurations, flight paths and prices, they also have various rules regarding pregnant women. Most allow women who are up to 34 weeks pregnant, although some allow up to 38 weeks. 40 weeks is considered “full-term”, so 38 is cutting it close!

Medical Exceptions

pregnant woman in navy on plane.pregnant woman in navy on plane.
Photo credit: Odua via DepositPhotos.

Some airlines will accept and/or require a “fit-to-fly” medical certificate. These can be given by a medical doctor for various medical scenarios, such as negative COVID-19 tests, having been recently released from a hospital, recovering from an operation, traveling for medical reasons, and also where you are in pregnancy.

Is The Crew Prepared To Deliver a Baby?

female airline steward in aisle of plane.female airline steward in aisle of plane.
Photo credit: Pew Nguyen via Canva.

The airline crews are trained for all sorts of medical emergencies and situations, including birthing children. That said, they typically ask if there is a doctor, or other pertinent medical personnel, on board to assist

What Happens If You Go Into Labor on a Plane?

pregnant woman forming heart with hands over belly.pregnant woman forming heart with hands over belly.
Photo credit: StockSnap via Canva.

Once the woman and baby are assessed, a few different things can happen, depending in the timing of the impending birth. The plane might be diverted to a close airport, but this not typical or likely due to the time it would take. Usually, a make-shift medical crew gets ready to deliver the baby on the plane.

How Often Do Babies Get Delivered on Planes?

baby's feet held in hands.baby's feet held in hands.
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There are no official figures, but the count ranges from about 50 to 70 babies have been born mid-flight. This seems low, but then again, the airlines try to prevent this from happening.

What Should You Do If You Are On a Plane Where a Baby is Being Born?

back of man's head in seat on plane.back of man's head in seat on plane.
Photo Credit: RyanMcGuire via Canva.

If you are a medical professional or midwife and assistance is requested, we would hope you come forward. If you are simply someone who is on the flight, please do not get in the way. Listen for directions from the flight crew and follow them. Most likely they will want you to stay in your seat. And for heaven’s sake, don’t pull out your cell phone to video!

Where Is the Baby Delivered?

woman on plane looking out window.woman on plane looking out window.
Photo credit: Tim Gouw via Canva.

While giving birth is usually a private affair, if it is happening on a plane, all bets are off. And no one is going to assemble a birthing crew in those tiny bathrooms! The mom might be moved to an area that has a bit of floor room and can be closed off with curtains, such as first class, or the galley area. An exit row that is more spacious might be commandeered. Again, please follow the crew’s instructions and let the mom have her space.

…and the Baby’s Citizenship is?

wing of plane at sunset.wing of plane at sunset.
Photo credit: Michael Vershnin via Canva.

The determination of the baby’s citizenship can vary. According to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, an aircraft is considered the soil of the country it belongs to, however, there is no universal rule. The convention implies that in most cases, children acquire their parents’ citizenship through jus sanguinis, or the right of blood.

Some countries adhere to jus soli, or the right of soil, which grants citizenship based on the place of birth. The 1961 Convention only becomes relevant when the child would otherwise be stateless, in which case the passport is determined by the country of origin of the airline. The U.S. State Department advises that a child born in international waters should indicate “at sea” as the place of birth, and if born in flight in a region not claimed by any country, the official classification would be “born in the air.” That makes for an interesting birth certificate!

What Kind of Medical Bill Do You Get?

plane against blue mountains.plane against blue mountains.
Photo credit: mohamed_hassan via Canva.

We found one story of a Taiwanese woman who delivered a baby on a flight to the United States, potentially aiming to secure American citizenship for her child, and that she may be liable for a substantial expense, due to the plane being redirected to Alaska.

A Good Reason To Avoid In-Flight Birth!

baby crying held in hands.baby crying held in hands.
Photo credit: Michael Morse via Canva.

Taiwanese media outlets estimated the incurred charges to be around $33,000. All of those data points that tell you how much it costs to raise a child to the age of 18 do not take this into account!

Skyborn Skybabies!

very happy newborn in white blanket.very happy newborn in white blanket.
Photo Credit: Pixabay via Canva.

Babies born on planes have their own moniker: Skybabies! And, their parents have been creative with names. How about Shona Kirsty Yves, or “Sky”? Or, a baby birthed on a Virgin Atlantic flight being named Virginia?

Does The Baby Get Free Flights For Life?

Virgin Airways plane in the air.Virgin Airways plane in the air.
Photo credit: Pascal Renet via Canva.

We think the kid should get something! How about free flights flying home for Mother’s Day? Virgin Atlantic did grant one baby free flights until the age of 21. British Airways granted Shona Owen a pair of tickets to her destination of choice for her 18th birthday.

Do you know anyone who has been born on a plane? Or given birth on a plane?

6 Gas Station Chains With Food So Good It’s Worth Driving Out Of Your Way For

Sheetz Store 1.Sheetz Store 1.
Photo credit: Sheetz.

We scoured the Internet to see what people had to say about gas station food. If you think the only things available are wrinkled hotdogs of indeterminate age, and day-glow slushies, we’ve got great, tasty news for you. Whether it ends up being part of a regular routine, or your only resource on a long car trip, we have the food info you need. Let’s look at 6 gas stations that folks can’t get enough of and see what they have for you to eat. Read 6 Gas Station Chains With Food So Good It’s Worth Driving Out Of Your Way For

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