Life in Madrid city center is full of transportation options for everyday life. You can get anywhere by bus, driving, metro, train, or taxis and reach many places by foot. Madrid is an incredibly walkable city with beautiful buildings to admire along the way and ample moments that will remind you, "Wow, I live in this amazing city that is a tourist destination for most! I call it home!"
With all the options for getting around, you'd think deciding how to get to the hospital and home from it when you go to give birth would be a simple one. But many parents struggle to decide...will they walk to the nearest maternity hospital which is 20 minutes away walking or will that not be feasible when in labor? Many have also asked me if a taxi will even stop to take a woman in labor or if they will not want to risk getting things messy.
So, let's look at the options for transportation to the hospital the day you are in labor or heading to the hospital.
First, you need to know which hospital you'd like to go to. If you're going to a public hospital you can choose whichever hospital you want to go to, even when you're in labor without officially transferring ahead of time. I've known many women who weren't sure just where they were going to go until the day of!
Next, keep in mind you'll probably have some luggage with you when you head to the hospital. For this reason buses and metro are usually out of the question for most families I've spoken to.
Taxis, walking, and driving personal cars seem to be the most common choices.
You can take a taxi (Uber/other company) to the hospital while in labor. Many taxi drivers are very excited and honored to be taking you to the hospital to give birth and they will be very kind. If you're in intense labor you may wish not to speak and allow your partner or doula to do all the talking.
Important note: Official taxis can use the taxi and bus lanes, but Uber drivers cannot.
Tips for taking a taxi in labor:
Use an app like FreeNow, which is the official taxi app, or Uber to call your car ahead of time so you are less likely to spend time waiting to find a free taxi
If you're concerned about making a mess in the taxi, consider wearing an adult diaper (yes, even if your water hasn't broken!) or simply take a thick towel with a puppy pad to toss down on the seat under you
To keep your birth environment as calm as possible despite it being temporarily a taxi - try covering your eyes with a sleep mask and wearing earplugs or headphones with your labor playlist/hypnobirthing tracks/affirmations playing
With both a partner and a doula, one person can be with you as your birth partner the entire time while the other gets everything ready for the trip to the hospital by arranging the taxi and getting suitcases ready - having two labor support people is always helpful and adds an additional layer of calm to the entire process of moving from home to the hospital.
Remember, the calmer your birth environment, the safer and more relaxed your body will feel making it more likely to continue progressing the intense work that is dilation and giving birth. The mind protects the body from potential threats.
Things like bright lights, rushing around the house looking for things, or stressing about calling a taxi can cause a laboring woman's body to secrete cortisol (or adrenaline) which can cause labor to slow down.
Having one person whose job is to guard the birthing environment (for example the husband or partner) and another who handles logistics (for example your doula) is incredibly helpful to the birthing process feeling calm and safe.
Driving Your Own Car
Driving your own car, if you have one, to the hospital in labor is definitely an option, but it's a great idea to consider the following questions beforehand:
Where is your car parked and will it be difficult to get there when in labor?
If your car is in a parking garage or parked a few streets from your home, will your partner have to leave you alone to go get the car? (In this case, having a doula can be so soothing because you'll never be left on your own).
Where can you park near the hospital? Is it easy to park in that area and is it pay to park?
Will your partner have to drop you off on your own while going to park the car and then meet you at the hospital?
How will you feel while your partner is having to focus on driving and you are laboring on your own - would having a doula help you feel calmer?
How long is the drive to the hospital?
Some women choose to walk to the hospital, especially if the hospital is within 10 or 15 minutes walking from their home. This can be a feasible option if you are planning to head to the hospital while contractions/surges/waves are still and if your hospital bags are packed in rolling suitcases or you have an extra person (like a doula) to help carry things while your partner fully focuses on you.
Walking to the hospital during labor would mean having contractions throughout the walk and being able to find a way to continue following your labor rhythm while getting to the hospital. For some women this means vocalizing with moans, singing, or other sounds and often leaning over something or someone. Using the partner "slow dancing" labor position can be a great option for couples to manage contractions while walking to the hospital since it doesn't require any additional props or items.
Walking to the hospital during labor may sound realistic while you're pregnant, but you may also find it's not feasible once you're actually in labor and ready to go to the hospital. If that happens, it's always okay to change the plan and call a taxi at any time.
Whatever option you choose for getting to the hospital, it can be helpful and calming to know the ins and outs of each option beforehand!
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood? Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome (C-section, instrumental birth, etc).