A New Jersey woman gave birth to her first child on a PATH commuter train to New York Monday morning.
An expectant couple took the train from Harrison, N.J. to the city at around 10:30 a.m. because the 31-year-old Rabita Sarka said she had started feeling contraction-like pains and was on her way to get a checkup at the Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hospital when the pains began to escalate and the baby’s head started to crown.
Sarka said she didn’t think that her pains were real because she wasn’t due to give birth yet.
PATH officials had turned the train to express mode, but the expecting mother couldn’t wait any longer. With the help from an elderly woman who wishes to remain anonymous, encouragement from fellow riders and her husband, a health baby boy was delivered around 10 a.m.
Passengers on the train offered to give both the mother and son their jackets to keep the baby warm and protected from the outside 30 degree weather.
“That’s our biggest concern,” Sgt. Mike Barry, one of the police officers who were on the scene to escort the family to a hospital told the Associated Press. “We know that baby’s body temperature is going to drop like a rock.”
Experts say that when a birth happens as quickly as Sarkar’s birth to a baby boy, it is generally a sign that everything is going well, except in the case of preterm labor which include all births that occur before 37 weeks of gestation.
Factors that may contribute to preterm birth include having a chronic illness like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking or illegal drug abuse during pregnancy, some infections and carrying more than one baby, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in newborns and can potentially cause serious health problems in those who survive, according to the CDC.
Children who were born prematurely are at a higher risk of having lifelong intellectual disabilities, breathing problems, cerebral palsy, digestive problems as well as vision and hearing loss, the CDC reported.
The parents of the baby born on the PATH train nicknamed their infant “Jhatpat” which means “quick” or “speedy” in Hindi, but did not disclose the baby’s name.