Going the Distance

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By Jill

At the American Association of Birth Centers conference this weekend, one midwife on a panel commented that many of her clients back in the day would drive four hours to give birth with her. I asked on the Facebook page if anyone had to drive hours to get the care they wanted for their birth. Here are the replies:


I drove two hours away to have a home birth at someone else’s home. I stayed there a full week before I had the baby because we didn’t want to get stuck in Seoul traffic in labor.

I know a mom who drove from Baton Rouge, LA to Denver where she used to live. That’s how bad it is here.

I relocated from Las Vegas to Oregon, to give birth with my trusted midwives. I cannot trust anyone else.

Me! Four hours to Anchorage… then I ended up with a cesarean. I will be driving FIVE hours this time.

i thought having to sit in a car for 35 minutes in labour was bad enough! 2nd time around i was lucky i went into labour at my (planned) homebirth, no travelling!!

‎6 hours.

I didn’t have to, but I know many St. Louis women who used to drive to the BC out in Columbia, MO when it was still open. It was a couple of hours to drive out that way!

I drove almost 2 hours to have a CNM with my first birth.

I have had clients drive from Dothan, AL, and Enterprise, AL, and Panama City Beach, FL, and New Orleans, LA to give birth, because they could not find providers in their area. Done lots of hotel births, and when I had the Birth Center, we had lots of out of town folks (2+ hr. drive) come there.

I drove 1 hour without traffic (which in Chicago can be very significant) to get to one of the few hospitals in the area where you can have a birth-center-like experience (West Suburban) with midwives. I was unwilling to homebirth even though I would have loved to because my close-by hospitals are incredibly hostile to homebirth transfers, even calling DCFS in many situations. I figured I’d rather plan on driving instead of having to potentially drive just as far during a potential emergency to get to a hospital that wasn’t openly hostile to homebirth transfers.

Many MWs drive a lot out here in remote Colorado. If you were to have a babe in the hospital it could be a loooong drive. (from my town it would be 1.25hr to a crap hospital in a town, not a “real” one in a city b/c major cities are 6-7 hours away) B/c of that the UC rate is high. I am still looking for a MW…but won’t be driving anywhere if I can help it!

I did! I drove about an hour or more to get to my perfect OB. And then I would sometimes wait 2 hours for him to get to me even though I arrived on time because he was a single doctor practice and when someone’s giving birth you just have to wait. He was absolutely worth it! He saved me from having c-section with my twins and delivered my “baby B” footling breech to I could have both of them vaginally!

I drive 2 hours each way to every prenatal and postnatal visit. Thankfully, the midwives will travel to my house for the actual birth. But I still make at least 16 trips there & back.

I’d like to know if there are any midwives who cater specifically to larger pregnant women. I just saw 3 “morbidly obese” women give birth on a TLC program, and as a BBW myself, it’d be nice to know if there are specialists out there who’re gonna “go to bat” for us pregnant fat girls! (;D)

my homebirth midwife was an hour and a half away. We drove for all our prenatals (2 were at home near the end), but she did come to our home for the birth and the PP visits! I’ve heard of people driving over state lines to hotels to birth to avoid C-sections- so sad :(

I only had to go about 45 minutes away for my midwives. We had a practice closer, but I specifically chose the other clinic because I felt they gave better care.

However, driving even 10 minutes when you’re in intense active labor feels like a looooooong way to go!! lol So 45 minutes is actually quite a long way to drive in my books. :P

I just go 45 minutes away, but it is one long 45 minutes lol.

Drove 1.5 hours there while in labor and back 4 hours after the birth. Wouldn’t do it again.

I would gladly drive out of town to give birth. The hospital here left me with a nasty after taste. I will NEVER go there again, unless it is a life and death situation and I HAVE to go there.

I haven’t done it yet, but I’m planning to drive 4 hours. Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. Kind of nervous about knowing when to leave though.

Hmm. First baby, we moved from Alaska to Washington to see midwives in Mt Vernon, Washington (state, not DC). In labor, we drove from Tacoma to Mt Vernon. Close to two hours.

Nope! I paid $4000 for an independent midwife and gave birth at home ;-)

I drove an hour and a half each way to see a CNM with my last one. There are no homebirth midwives in my area. Labor was so quick we were only at the hospital for 15 minutes before she arrived! :) we made the trip in 45 minutes that time.

‎3 hours one way for my vba2c

I drove 3 hours to have my 5 hour successful VBAC. I think that’s pure crap that I had to do that, but no homebirth midwives could take me, and that was the closest hospital I could find with actual statistics that proved they truly supported VBACs. It was worth it, but I’m worried about driving that far for any subsequent births…I am angry I am forced to choose between possibly giving birth on the freeway, an unnecessary repeat c-section, or birthing unassisted (which I am personally not comfortable with). :(

I feel your pain… while I know my VBAC this time around will be just fine, the next baby I’m not so sure… We will probably be back in South Georgia & from what I can find there are no midwives in the area & I am not so sure about going to VBAC at the same hospital that did my unnecesarean… leaving my only option to drive to Florida & hope I make it in time… So glad I’m in Washington for this birth… at least by the next one I’ll have a good experience under my belt to pull from.

I might have to go from 5 to 40 with my 2nd kiddo if I want a vbac. The close hospital has a ban. Booo.

2 hours, one way, for every prenatal, and to give birth.

I got to stay home while my midwife drove a ways to me!

I am in Central Washington, where are you? I drove to Spokane to have my VBAC. :)

‎2.5 hrs w/the second, midwife came 2 hrs. to me for the 3rd. Time and distance will never force me into an unnecessarean!

A little over 2 hours with my 2nd. I was lucky to find a doctor who didn’t try to use scare tactics when I cancelled my 42w repeat c/s the day before it. I went into labor that night anyway and had a successful VBAC.

One of my friends drove from Toronto to Chicago in the mid 1980s. She couldn’t find anyone closer who would do a breech homebirth. Of course she had to drive down well before she went into labour.

I drove an hour to mine. The night I was in labor with my daughter it took us two hours because of very thick fog. My husband offered to stop at the hospital in our town, but they are so intervention crazy, I would rather have birthed in my car!

Hour and a half to get my VBAC I wanted! SUCCESSFUL!

We drove about an hour and a half on New years Eve to reach our birth center. Never again will i drive while in labor, I am sticking to home births.

My midwife drove 2.5 hours to assist and deliver my successful HBAC! I did visit the far 6.5 hours away but decided that was a last resort, and thankfully some define intervention brought my midwife and me together!

I only drove an hour…but the midwife sent me home so another hour back. Had the baby that morning at the hospital 5 min from my house!

we drove almost 3 hours for the last birth. to the only free standing birth center in the state

Drove an hour in traffic. It was worth it. :)

two days, from chicago, to the farm, in middle tennessee. and three days home again with twins!

I drove two hours one way to a client, but that hardly seems far since I wasn’t the one in labor.

I have seriously considered flying in to Tucson, Arizona birth center…that’s a two hour flight:) Not quite sure it would work.

We drove over an hour for all of our appointments, and would have for the birth, until we decided to have a homebirth. Our wonderful midwife drove over an hour in a blizzard to help us!

I drove an hour in good traffic to get to my midwives. Of course, “man plans G-d laughs” and i went into labor, in rush hour, in construction in Chicago. It took us just over 2 hours to get there. Me cursing a blue streak the ENTIRE WAY THERE.

How far did you have to go to get the care that was right for you?