While expectant American couples taking Lamaze classes prepare for labor with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, midwives in Sweden are busy prepping soon-to-be parents on worst-case scenarios. "Car accidents, the car could break down, you maybe drive off the road. You have to be ready," Stina Naslund tells the Local. Naslund is a midwife who works for the Solleftea Hospital's maternity ward, set to be shuttered at the end of the month and leaving local pregnant women no choice but to drive to one of two other facilities more than 60 miles away when it's time for baby's arrival. This development has prompted Naslund and another midwife to debut a course on the ins and outs of childbirth for those stuck in their cars and unable to get to one of those other locations in time.
The course will go over how to get through a long drive through rural, often-desolate areas with a very-pregnant passenger, as well as what to do if the baby decides it's not waiting for hospital staff. The maternity ward in Solleftea was scheduled for closure in October to save money, Expressen reports, via the BBC, and while the head of the Swedish Association of Midwives said she supports the new course, she calls it a "tragic" necessity. Naslund adds that the closure is like "cutting the lifeblood of a society," per the Local. Others seem to be similarly concerned and have set about making their contingency plans: Naslund says she and her partner have had a big response to the course since they announced it on Friday. (A British midwife delivered her own baby.)