While most people were surrounded by family and keeping warm on Christmas Eve, one woman was giving birth to a baby on the side of a Manitoba highway.

A call for help came to STARS ambulance and emergency workers at 8:32 p.m. on Thursday from the community of Hodgson, Man.

Upon arrival, STARS and local paramedics treated the woman, putting her in an ambulance to transport her to Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital.

"We don't do a lot of transports in the helicopter of patients that were in active labour because you don't have a lot of room in a helicopter and so you want to try and avoid those and allow the ground unit to rush those folks in," said Grant Therrien, base director for STARS.

But they didn't make it to Winnipeg before the delivery.

"About 40 minutes south of Hodgson it became clear that the labour was evolving and they were going to pull over in a safe area and help mom with the delivery, which occurred and we had a healthy baby girl," Therrien said.

"The crew was quite pleased to transport both mom and baby to Winnipeg safely and it just topped off a great shift on Christmas Eve to have an opportunity to participate in a call like that."

Delivering the baby in an ambulance on the side of the highway posed some challenges, Therrien said.

"There's not a lot of room, it's not like when you're in a hospital and you have a nice labour room. So, it's a little more challenging but the best sound is when you hear the baby start to cry and you see the smile on mom's face."

Plus, he said, the paramedics helping with the delivery are experienced. 

Before arriving at the hospital, both mom and baby were assessed to be in stable condition.

"Mom was in good spirits … exhausted obviously but they were doing good when we dropped them off," Therrien said.