An Iqaluit woman who gave birth prematurely while travelling with her toddler can't get home due to federal aviation regulations that would only allow her to travel with one child.

Annie Kilabuk travelled to Montreal in late June with her 17-month-old daughter. The then-pregnant Iqaluit resident says she was hunting for bargains on baby clothes and furniture. 

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A view of the airport in Iqaluit. An Iqaluit woman who gave birth prematurely while travelling with her toddler can't get home due to federal aviation regulations that would only allow her to travel with one child.

Unbearable pain sent her rushing to the hospital. Doctors told her she was going into labour 10 weeks prematurely. 

"If we didn't make it to the hospital in time, I would have bled to death and so would my daughter," she said.

Now she's recovering at the home of her children's grandparents.

She said she wants to go home but can't because of air travel rules. Canadian aviation regulations stipulate that no person can be responsible for more than one child under the age of two in case there's a need to evacuate. 

"I have to choose between one baby and the other to travel back home with and leave the other one behind," Kilabuk said.

Kilabuk said her baby daughter has developed a heart murmur.

She said the Montreal hospital tried arranging a Medevac flight for the baby to Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, but the Government of Nunavut refused. She's also worried the lack of medical care on a long flight could kill the newborn.

Kilabuk said she made several calls to Nunavut's health department but says no one could help her.

"Nobody explained to me why," she said.

Nunavut's health department said it won't comment on Kilabuk's situation because of patient confidentiality rules.