Utah woman unaware she was pregnant, doctor says it’s not rare

May 3, 2021, 5:57 PM
baby born on flight...
(Hawaii Pacific Health)
(Hawaii Pacific Health)

SALT LAKE CITY — The woman from Utah who gave birth to a premature baby on a flight from Salt Lake City to Hawaii said she didn’t know she was pregnant. 

And that’s not rare, a Utah doctor told KSL Newsradio hosts Dave and Dujanovic.

The topic arose after Lavina Mounga, a woman traveling from Salt Lake City to Hawaii late last week, went into labor on the plane. Her family said she did not know she was 29 weeks pregnant.

“I think sometimes there’s some denial or sometimes a woman just thinks, ‘well I was just putting on weight or I’ve got gas pains or something like that,'” said Dr. Douglas Richards, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician with Intermountain Healthcare.

“It is hard to explain, but not that rare,” he said.

An on-board birth? Here’s what to do

Dr. Richards also talked about what to do if you ever find yourself in a situation where a woman is giving birth. He said the best thing to do is to get mom in a clean, safe space and support her.

“The baby is going to come out regardless of what any helpers do, so you just support the mom,” he said.  “And probably would not recommend grabbing the baby or supporting the head or anything. Just let the baby come out.”  

He said it’s not imperative to cut the umbilical chord, but that would be the next step. Finally, keep the baby warm and safe by putting him or her on mom’s chest. 

It helps when NICU nurses are also on board

Mounga didn’t have just anyone helping her deliver baby Raymond.

A team of NICU nurses and a doctor happened to be on board the flight and helped deliver the baby (with shoelaces and a smartwatch, reported KSL TV.)

Mom and baby are reportedly recovering well at a hospital in Hawaii. 


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Utah woman unaware she was pregnant, doctor says it’s not rare