Doctor Goes Into Labour While Delivering Patient’s Baby


Emily Jacobs, a pregnant doctor from Texas recently went into labor while she delivered the baby of another patient during her shift — thereby switching role from doctor to patient.

Dr. Emily Jacobs and her husband, Ryan Jacobs recently moved to Iowa for Emily’s residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Like her patients, the young doctor was also an expectant mother.

Emily’s residency began on July 1, and she typically puts in 80-hour weeks. “I felt good the first three weeks, delivering babies and working night shifts at the hospital. I wasn’t due until Aug. 24,” she said.

But early one morning on July 28, while Emily was delivering another baby, she realized that her own water had broken. She noticed amniotic fluid on her scrubs and assumed it was from her last patient. But when Emily left the patient’s delivery room, she realized she was ready to have her own.

“It’s funny how fast you go from being a doctor to a patient — and you’re freaking out. One minute you are in control, and then the next, you’re not,” she said.

Emily said she was worried “because I was about a month early.” “Ideal is 39-40 weeks, but my baby was 36 weeks and one day,” she said.


When Emily told her supervisor her water broke, she “just kind of smiled and told me to go back in one of the triage rooms and wait for her to confirm that it was my water.”

Meanwhile, Emily tried to contact her husband, who was asleep at home. “I got a call at 4:45 a.m., but didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the number. Then she texted me with what was happening and I took off,” Ryan said.

Dr. Emily Jacobs and family

Later that day, the couple’s son, Jett Eric Jacobs, was born weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. “He was pretty big for a 36-week baby,” Emily said.

Jacobs’ colleague, Keely Ulmer, MD, who helped deliver Jett was “shocked” to learn her fellow doctor had gone into labor a month early.

“I happened to be on Labor and Delivery, so it was a pretty special experience to share with a special classmate. She did a wonderful job and her husband was very supportive. I am grateful to be part of the experience,” said 28-year-old Ulmer.

Emily told ABC News that becoming a mother made her “more understanding”. She said:

“It’s definitely made me more empathetic and more aware of what it’s like going through some pregnancy complications.

“People will come in [who are] in preterm labor often … very worried about the health of their baby and health of themselves. Until [I went] through it, I can definitely appreciate just how worried and nervous you get.”

Baby Jett Eric Jacobs now at 7 weeks old is home, happy and doing well.

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