Engine Co. EMS; Giving Birth



By Michael Morse

They are the best of calls, they are the worst of calls…

Just about every firefighter I know would rather enter a fully involved, occupied fertilizer factory without a charged line than deliver a baby. Until, that is, they deliver one. Field deliveries are a bit unnerving, but they can be one of the most gratifying moments in a firefighter’s career. Sure, your patient load doubles, and it can be a bit messy, but I have found little more satisfying that pressing the mic button with my sweaty fingers, asking dispatch for a time check, and then announcing over the air, “It’s a girl; time of birth 2330 hours.” Even the people listening get a moment of pride and satisfaction and feel a part of something bigger than the job.


Making that announcement is more involved than just saying the words; training and experience certainly help. Having a member of the crew who was present during delivery of a child of his own or who has actually done a field delivery is a luxury and will definitely ease the tension. Understanding our role as health care providers and being proficient is essential.

 Chaos is never welcome at any emergency scene, and considering the birth of a child anywhere but in a controlled environment is foolish. Calming the scene and creating a serene atmosphere once you realize that delivery is imminent can be accomplished while attending to the task at hand. The expectant mother and others in attendance need to know that things are as under control as they can be, and it is up to us to be the bringers of calm. By being confident and capable, we do just that.

Some Things to Consider. . .

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  • William K. says:

    It all comes down to training and remembering what to do, both when things go right and when they don’t go so well. And an infant will never flashback, not ever. But certainly knowing exactly what is happening as well as what to do IS VITAL. Thus training and practice are needed.

  • Mr618 says:

    I have heard it described this way, with a hat tip to Ron White: “Catch the baby. Don’t drop the baby.”

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