During this guide we are going to be looking at how to deliver a baby in an emergency childbirth.
When my daughter, our first, was born 11 years ago it was a nerve-wracking experience for me at the time. I was already paranoid in case anything went wrong that I could have done without any further stress.
It was early hours of the morning when my partner told me it was time. I didn’t drive back then so got straight on the phone to the hospital who alerted me to the fact that they didn’t have any ambulances close-by so would walk me through the process in case the baby came before they could get to us. I was terrified. Luckily, the whole birth went smoothly but I still wouldn’t choose to do it again unless I really had no choice.
One thing that you need to realize is that you shouldn’t really try to deliver the baby as such. It will happen naturally. The main aim for you is to be there to comfort and care for the mother and baby.
Sometimes however, miscarriages happen which are potentially serious due to the risk of severe bleeding.
The Stages of Childbirth
There are three stages to a childbirth. These are:
- Stage 1 (baby gets in position) – during the first stage, the mother will start experiencing contractions. This, combined with the pressure of the baby’s head, cause the cervix (neck of the uterus/womb) to open. The contractions will become stronger and more frequent until the cervix is fully dilated (open) – about 10cm (4in) at which time the baby is ready to be born. The mucus plug that protects the uterus from infection is expelled and the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby leaks out from the vagina.
- Stage 2 (the baby is born) – the baby is ready to be born once the cervix is fully dilated. The baby’s head will press down on the mother’s pelvic floor, triggering a strong urge to push. In most cases, the head will emerge first, and the body is delivered soon afterwards.
- Stage 3 (afterbirth is delivered) – the final stage occurs after about 10–30 minutes following the birth of the baby in which the placenta and the umbilical cord will be expelled from the uterus.
How to Deliver a Baby in an Emergency Childbirth
Call emergency services for help as soon as possible and give the operator as much detail as you can such as the stage reached, length of contractions and time between contractions.
During the first stage, you should help the mother either sit or kneel on the floor in a position most comfortable for her. Remain calm at all times making sure that you encourage her to breathe deeply during her contractions. Use the heel of your hand to gently massage her lower back.
Once the birth has moved into the second stage, the mother will naturally want to push. The mother should remove any items of clothing that could interfere with the birth. Clean sheets and towels should be laid out under and immediately around the mother to reduce the risk of any infection. Encourage her to stay as upright as possible.
Once the baby starts to emerge, handle it with extreme care and once out, immediately hand him/her over to the mother. Lay him on her stomach or wrap him in a clean cloth, towel or blanket.
As the third stage begins, reassure the mother. Support her as she delivers the afterbirth but do not cut the cord. Keep the placenta and the umbilical cord intact as the midwife, doctor or ambulance crew need to check that it is complete. If bleeding or pain is severe, treat for shock. Help the mother to lie down and raise her legs and keep her warm.
Important Childbirth Notes
During the childbirth you should refrain from giving the mother anything to eat so as to reduce the risk of her vomiting. She can have small sips of water if she is thirsty.
Sometimes, it is possible that the umbilical cord may become wrapped around the baby’s neck as it is born. If this happens, very carefully ease it over the head to protect the baby from strangulation. If a newborn baby does not cry, open the airway and check breathing
- Pull on the baby’s head or shoulders during delivery.
- Smack a baby.
- Pull or cut the umbilical cord, even when the placenta has been delivered.