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thought that always haunts an expectant couple is
do we do if we can’t reach the hospital in time?’
this doubt is natural. But if you are pregnant for
the first time, chances are that you will never land
up in such a situation. Mother nature will give you
more than adequate warning in advance. It is only
in women who have delivered more than 2 babies previously,
that labour is very fast and painless. It is this
set of women who land up in such a situations – if
at all! Any way, here are a few simple things
to be followed if you ever land up in such a panic
and FOREMOST “DO NOT PANIC”
Labour is a very natural process and in cases
where it happens unexpectedly, it is bound to
be normal in most situations. The mother is not
given any sedation and painkillers. Hence the
baby is bound to come in a good condition crying
A EMERGENCY DELIVERY KIT AND KEEP IT HANDY.
This is rarely
needed,but may be advisable to keep it ready ,especially
if you stay far from the hospital,or are likely
to deliver in times of uncertain weather
The kit may contain:
towels to hold / wrap the baby.
and pads to prevent spoilage
light / torch or an emergency light.
for the mother and baby.
new nose / ear syringe for suctioning the
bag for holding the placenta ( don’t throw
the placenta before showing it to the doctor).
spool of stout thread / twine / shoe laces,
etc. for tying the umbilical cord.
sanitary pads for giving pressure on the
tears if any.
coltton swabs or gauze pieces.
Once the kit is ready and you have rehearsed / revised
the following paragraph, you will feel much more confident.
If possible call ups the emergency ambulance
service. Call your neighbour or someone else to help if possible.
If you are alone, wash your hands and vaginal area. Lie
down on a cot and start panting to keep you from bearing down. Spread some newspapers /
plastic sheets / clean towels below you. If, inspite of the panting, the head of the baby
starts coming out, conduct the delivery as explained.
If the head is not yet visible and you are pregnant
for the first time, you may still have 15 – 20 minutes. If it is possible for you to
reach the hospital within that time, do so. If not, stay where you are and contact
The partner should calm and reassure the
woman in labour all the time.
partner can wash her hands with soap and also the
If possible, it is better that you lie on the edge of
the bed with your legs supported on stools. Now it is easy for your spouse is deliver you.
If not, lie on the floor with few folded towels /
blankets beneath your buttocks the facilitating delivery of the baby.
As the head appears and stretches the perineum, the
labouring woman should stop bearing down and start taking deep breaths. Let the uterus do
its job alone. At the same time, the spouse / attendant gives gentle counter pressure
to avoid the head coming out suddenly. This will help in preventing excessive tears.
As the head delivers, stroke the head from forehead to
nose and check the nose to expel mucus and amniotic fluid from the mouth and nose. If you
have an ear / nose syringe, then use it.
Once the head is out, do not pull it as it may cause
spinal injury. Feel for any loop of umbilical cord around the neck. If present gently slip
it off before the rest of the body is delivered.
You will now see the head turning till the baby faces
the mother’s thigh. When this happens, gently push the head downwards (do not pull)
so that the upper shoulder comes out. As it comes out hold the head in
your hands and gently
raise it in the opposite direction i.e. upward, so that the lower shoulder also comes out.
The rest of the body will be delivered easily on
Now quickly complete sucking the mouth and nose of the
baby and clean the mucus and amniotic fluid with syringe/cotton swabs /gauze pieces. Once
this is done, dry the baby.
Feel for the pulsation of the umbilical cord. Once the
cord stops pulsating, you can tie the umbilical cord with thread / twine / new shoelaces.
(You can also leave the cord untied till the placenta is out. Just take care to place the
baby at a lower level than the placenta and the mother).
If the cord is long enough, you can let the baby feed
at the mother’s breast. The suckling will help in expulsion of the placenta.
If the baby is not
suckling, the mother herself or the
attendant can stimulate the nipples.
Do not pull the placenta out. During the expulsion of
the placenta, there may be a little bleeding as also from the tears, if any. Do not be
Once the placenta is out, do not throw it. Collect it
in a plastic bag to show it to your doctor.
Feel for the uterus now. If it has contracted and
become firm, there won’t be any bleeding.
If not, give a good massage to the lower abdomen in a
If there are any tears, use the sanitary pads to give
pressure on them to stop / reduce the bleeding, till medical aid is obtained.
Cover the baby in a blanket and keep him/her warm. It is best that
the mother nurses the baby till medical help arrives. As this will help in contracting the
uterus and reducing the bleeding.
If the mother is alone, she can try doing all the above measures by
herself as much as possible till help arrives.
These are just the
instances of extreme case. Chances are that you
will never even be required to do so. But if it does happen, you now know what is to be
done. But, like they say “prevention is always better than cure”. Even if you
are in doubt, do not hesitate or wait. Report to your doctor immediately let him decide
whether you are in labour or not.
by author Martha
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