Sweden midwives offer training for car births

Close-up of a newborn baby's feet Image copyright Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Image caption The midwives want to prepare women who may go into labour en route to the hospital

Expectant parents in a town in Sweden are being offered training on how to deliver a baby in a car after the local maternity ward was earmarked for closure.

Two midwives at the hospital in Solleftea came up with the idea in order to help mums- and dads-to-be feel safer during the long journey to the nearest maternity unit, The Local reports. From February, that will be in either Ornskoldsvik or Sundsvall - both more than 100km (62 miles) away.

Stina Naslund, who is leading the course, says that she knows many people are anxious about travelling such a long distance through rural areas, particularly in dark winter conditions.

Ms Naslund tells The Local that she wants to prepare people for what could happen. "Car accidents, the car could break down, you maybe drive off the road. You have to be ready, and the worst could happen even if it is very, very uncommon," she says. The training will include what to do if the baby's arrival is imminent, The Local notes.

About 20,000 people live in Solleftea municipality, half of them in the town itself. The decision to cut local maternity services was part of a cost-cutting measure passed in October, Expressen reports. Mia Ahlberg, head of the Swedish Midwives Association, supports the training but says it's "tragic" that it is needed because health services are being closed in small communities.

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