Childbirth is usually prolonged process that gives time for help to arrive. Very rarely, a woman will have a rapid labour and deliver a baby before professional help is at hand. Often, a sense of panic sets in when a woman starts to experience her labour pains. If the waters should break, then the delivery is expected to be imminent and panic increases.
It is worth remembering that women have been giving birth for thousands of years and for much of that time there was no midwifery or medical care.
The Rapid Birth
On very few occasions when this occurs, be reassured that experienced advice is always close at hand. The woman herself will almost certainly have had previous children and possesses a natural instinct as to when to push and bear down. It is unusual for the rapid birth to be complicated by a baby lying in an abnormal position.
Rely on the woman to decide when the birth is imminent-she will be right.
Do not try to delay the birth.
Do not try to keep the baby inside the mother’s birth canal.
Ask others to phone for help.
If time permits, try to obtain some privacy for the woman. She may be able to walk to a secluded area or temporary screens may be available.
Help the woman to adopt a comfortable position. Whether she is lying on her back or squatting, try to place clean sheets or towels .
Ask others to go get clean towels or similar to wrap the baby in.
Remind yourself not to panic.
If there is time, wash your hands.
If the woman is leaking faeces from her back passage, you must clean the area with suitable materials. Always wipe from the front towards the back; this prevents contaminating the woman’s vagina and the baby.
As the perineum (area between the woman’s legs) starts to bulge, be ready to support the baby’s head as it is born.
Do not try to pull or wiggle the head free; simply provide support so that it is delivered into your hands.
As soon as the head is delivered check to see that the mouth and nose are clear of the membrane that surrounds the baby in the womb. If necessary, use your fingers to pull the membrane away; it will tear easily.
As soon as the neck is visible, look to see if the umbilical cord, is wrapped around the baby’s neck. If so, lift it over the baby’s head.
The baby’s head will start to turn with its body so that it faces sideways. This is quite normal and you should continue to provide support to the head.
One shoulder will be born before the other. Once this has occurred, lift the baby to be born very quickly.
Do not pull the baby’s head.
Do not manipulate/wiggle the baby’s head.
Do not pull at the baby’s shoulders.
The baby will be very wet and slippery and will remain attached to the mother through the umbilical cord. Do not attempt to cut the cord.
Lay the baby on the mother’s abdomen and gently clean around its mouth and nose with clean material, e.g. gauze, handkerchief.
The baby should start to take its first breaths and to cry. You do not need to smack the baby to stimulate it.
If the baby does not start to breathe then carry out the resuscitation for babies.
Wrap the baby in blankets or towels.
Remember to enclose its head so that just the face remains clear.
Give The Baby To The Mother
The cord is long enough for the baby to be cuddled by the mother.
Many mothers wish to put their baby to the breast as soon as possible after birth.
Keep the baby on its side with its head slightly lower than the rest of its body so as to allow any fluids and mucus to drain.
Delivering the placenta
This will occur naturally within about 30 minutes. It is usually associated with a small amount of bleeding.
The cord should be left uncut until professional help arrives.
It may palpate for a short while.
Do not try to tug the placenta free by pulling on the cord.
Place the delivered placenta into a plastic bag (or similar); it will need to be inspected by the midwife or doctor so as to ensure that no fragments of it have
been retained inside the mother.
Heavy Bleeding After The Delivery
This is rare.
Massage the woman’s lower abdomen over the womb so as to encourage contraction of the uterus.
Continue massage until help arrives.
Treat the woman for shock.
Care of the mother
Clean her as best you can.
Place a sanitary towel, folded terry nappy or similar, between her legs.