Place of birth: Sukhumvit Soi 71

Volunteers helped a woman give birth when she went into labour on a busy Bangkok street – with the moment filmed by a passing journalist on his iPhone.

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Motorcycle taxi drivers, passersby and volunteers jumped into action to help the young woman give birth before professional help could arrive. Photo from a video by Daniel Kestenholz

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Place of birth: Sukhumvit Soi 71

Daniel Kestenholz, a Swiss journalist based in Bangkok, was walking towards the Phra Khanong BTS skytrain station on Tuesday morning when he saw a crowd was gathering.

"I saw people gathering and thought it was an accident. A young woman was already lying on a bench and people were taking care of her," he said.

It turned out it was not an accident. With the help of local motorcycle taxi drivers, passersby and volunteers, she was giving birth to a baby girl.

Photo froma  video by Daniel Kestenholz

The woman, in her late teens, had been walking along Sukhumvit Soi 71 on Tuesday morning when she went into labour.

Mr Kestenholz took out his old iPhone and filmed the entire scene before and after professional help arrived. The birth was flawless.

“Everything seemed peaceful. It was strange but giving birth there on the sidewalk along a busy road looked like the most natural thing in the world. When the baby girl screamed for the first time, bystanders cheered. It gave me the chills!"

Emergency births in unusual places are not uncommon in Bangkok. The city’s notorious traffic jams encouraged the Royal Traffic Police Project to establish a police midwives special unit in 1993 to help expectant mothers stranded in traffic.

Traffic police officers are trained in midwife skills at Bangkok Hospital and the unit has helped deliver more than 100 roadside births since it was established.

Adapted from a story by Prapasri Vasuhirun.

You can see Mr Kestenholz's video and read more about his experience here:  "Don’t expect a horror movie," Mr Kestenholz writes. "Giving birth couldn’t look more natural." 

passersby – people who are going past somebody, a place, an event, etc.  ผู้คนผ่านไปมาตามถนน
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
give birth – to produce a baby คลอดลูก
professional – done by a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education ที่มีความเชี่ยวชาญ
journalist – a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television ผู้สื่อข่าว
based – living or working in a particular placed; located in a particular place อาศัย
gather – to come together in a group รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน, จับกลุ่มกัน, ชุมนุม
bench – a long seat for two or more people กระดานนั่ง, ม้านั่ง
turn out – to be discovered to be; to prove to be กลับกลายเป็น
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
labour – the period of time during which a women gives birth to a baby or the process of giving birth to a baby กระบวนการในการคลอดบุตร (โดยเฉพาะการหดตัวของกล้ามเนื้อ)
flawless – without flaws (mistakes, faults) and therefore perfect ไม่มีข้อบกพร่อง, ไม่มีจุดบกพร่อง
sidewalk – a path with a hard surface beside a road. The British word is pavement ทางเดิน, ฟุตบาท
natural – normal; as you would expect ตามธรรมชาติ, เหมือนจริง
bystander – a person who is standing near and watching something that is happening but is not taking part in it ผู้เห็นเหตุการณ์, ผู้สังเกตการณ์
give me the chills – to cause someone to experience a sudden, short feeling of of excitement possibly mixed with fear
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
uncommon – unusual; not existing in large numbers or in many places ที่พบได้น้อย
notorious – famous for something bad ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางไม่ดี
encourage – to cause someone to want to do something กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
establish – to start a company, organisation, fund, etc. that will likely continue for a long time สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง
midwife – a nurse whose job is to look after women when they are giving birth to a baby นางพยาบาลผดุงครรภ์
unit – a group of people who work or live together, especially for a particular purpose หน่วย,กอง,กลุ่ม
expectant mother – a pregnant woman, i.e., a woman who is expecting a baby
stranded – left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
skill – the ability to do something well, usually as a result of experience and training ฝีมือ

Related search: Birth on Sukhumvit Soi 71, Daniel Kestenholz

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager