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. 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
1 day ago
New Utah State Correctional Facility fails to give appropriate medication to inmates....
Mark Jones

Correctional officer assaulted at Utah State Correctional Facility

The Utah Department of Corrections says a correctional officer was assaulted Monday inside the Antelope Housing Unit at the Utah State Correctional Facility. The officer was hospitalized, but later released.
1 day ago
As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsan...
Devin Oldroyd

Unsheltered Utah opens warming tent for unhoused people to escape frigid temperatures

As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsanctioned makeshift warming tent Monday.
1 day ago
snow shovel driveway dialysis...
Mark Jones

Cold weather causes late start for Logan City School District Wednesday

The Logan City School District and the Cache County School District will be on two-hour late starts on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
1 day ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
1 day ago
Centerville Police department...
Elizabeth Weiler

Centerville Police restate “guardian over warrior” mantra

"Our role in Centerville and in policing in general ... is as a Guardian instead of the Warrior" Sgt. Dingman said. "The relationships we build with the community and how they are treated by our officers is still a priority."
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Utah woman unaware she was pregnant, doctor says it’s not rare