Giving birth is not the easiest event to plan. Even with due dates and contractions acting as a warning that the big moment is near, pregnant women often find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when their babies finally arrive. Here, a list of the less-than-ideal spots where nine women recently gave birth:
1. A war zone
A British soldier who was deployed to the front lines in Afghanistan didn't know she was pregnant until she recently experienced stomach cramps that were actually contractions. She gave birth three days later at an Afghan outpost that was the scene of a battle just days earlier. "Usually once we find out about a woman being pregnant, we send her back to the U.K. on maternity leave, but this time, the baby came too fast," says a Ministry of Defense spokesman.
2. Her own wedding
A woman in Jallais, France, got married on July 7, 2012 — and had a new guy in her life before even arriving at the reception: A baby boy. The happy couple had just emerged from the town hall when the bride, not due for another week, went into labor. She gave birth inside the town hall, while the unaware guests were waiting at the reception hall. "It did rather shake us up," said Jallais Mayor Jean-Robert Gachet, who officiated the wedding.
3. An airport bathroom
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2011, one of the busiest travel days of the year, a woman stepped off her flight at the BWI airport in Maryland and immediately went into labor. While she didn't make it to the hospital, she did manage to get herself to a restroom in Concourse D, where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy right there on the floor. No doctors were present, but an officer reportedly assisted in her delivery before the mom and newborn were whisked away to a nearby hospital.
4. A gas station bathroom
Amy Balfe, 28, of Dublin was at the hospital the day of her mid-November 2011 due date, but doctors sent her home because she wasn't far enough along. By the next morning, Balfe was back in the car, with heavy contractions, on her way back to the hospital. The mom-to-be realized the baby was coming faster than the car could move, so her partner pulled over at a gas station. While he was calling an ambulance, Balfe gave birth to a baby girl in the bathroom stall.
5. Outside an elevator
In late 2011, an Indian woman in labor sought assistance at a local emergency room, but was turned away and advised to go to the outpatient department of the hospital four flights down. Her husband escorted the screaming woman into the elevator, but they quickly got out two floors down. She gave birth outside the elevator doors.
6. A Volkswagen
A Cincinnati mom named Elizabeth thought she'd seen everything by her third pregnancy, but baby Julian had a surprise for her. Elizabeth was just getting a ride home from her sister-in-law when her water broke. Her sister-in-law headed straight for the hospital, but it was too late. "By the time we got to the Kroger (supermarket)... he was out, in the car, in my pants," Elizabeth said. Doctors completed the delivery in front of the hospital. "I was embarrassed," she said. "I still am a bit."
7. Beer store parking lot
Early one November morning, a Canadian woman gave birth to a baby boy in a van parked outside a place that is something less than a magnet for pregnant women — the Beer Store. Both mother and child were later reported to be doing fine after recovering in a nearby hospital.
8. 30,000 feet in the air
Just two weeks from her September due date, Aida Alamillo got approval from her doctor and Philippine Airline medical personnel to fly to visit her ailing father in Boston. But Alamillo went into labor on the first leg of her trip, between the Philippines and San Francisco. Thanks to a trio of nurses traveling on her flight, the 41-year-old mom delivered a healthy baby boy. The rest of the passengers reportedly burst into applause after hearing the baby's cries fill the cabin.
9. While driving
Sure, women have given birth in cars, but while driving? A Minnesota mother was rushing to the hospital, her husband in the passenger seat, when her water broke suddenly and the baby "just slid out." The 29-year-old mother — who was in the driver's seat because her husband has a history of seizures — yelled at the dad-to-be to grab the wheel as she cradled their baby boy between her legs.
Sources: AFP, Babble (2), Daily Pioneer, Irish Times, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Sun, WKRC Cincinnati
This article — originally published on December 1, 2011 — was last updated on September 21, 2012.