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Labour & Delivery
Updated on 24 February 2023
The petrifying thought of delivering a baby when no one is around can surely give you goosebumps. You have probably seen it in movies, however, in reality, it is extremely rare when a pregnant woman can’t make it to the hospital. Giving birth to a baby is a natural event and at times this event is handled by a non-medical professional. There could be many risks involved when the delivery is unattended or unassisted but all you have to do is stay calm.
Here are a few simple tips when you are giving birth alone:
For every woman, the experience of labor and delivery is different. However, if it’s your first time then you must learn that your baby will take longer to arrive. You have to observe your contractions whether they're long, strong, and frequent, and also if your water has broken. Get mentally prepared for the best you do in such a situation.
Take a few deep breaths and try to unlock the door of your house so, that when the ambulance reaches your place it’s easier for medical personnel to enter your premises. You must save the number of ambulance services on your speed dial, which is 102 (in India). While waiting for an ambulance, you must call your gynecologist and put her on speakerphone so, that if in case your ambulance gets delayed, she can explain to you the basic steps of an emergency delivery.
Unplanned delivery can be frightening but you should not panic. Home births were so common in the era when there were no advanced medical technologies. If you have ever listened to the stories of home births from your grandmother, then you can easily handle the situation. Even today home births are recurrent in many rural areas across the globe.
Relax your mind and do keep in mind that the babies who are perfectly positioned in a head-down position are likely to arrive quickly. You must hit a pause button if some weird thoughts are popping in your mind like- what if my baby gets stuck or only feet come out first.
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If you are wondering to go and simply lie down in the bathtub to avoid any messy situation, then it’s a bad idea because it’ll be too uncomfortable and you will not be easily accessible to the medical emergency team. Wash your hands and the vaginal area properly.
You can keep a bucket of warm water along with some clean and fresh towels and sheets. Choose a comfortable position by keeping in mind that if you are pushing the baby while standing, then your baby could fall and suffer severe head injuries. You can even pile up pillows and put them up behind your back and prop up while lying on the bed.
When your baby is arriving unexpectedly you must try to pant and push gently. Your delicate tissues can get damaged if you aren’t panting and once the head of the baby is visible you can gently guide the baby. Don’t try to pull out the baby and allow the labor contractions to do the work.
Slowly loosen up the umbilical cord by hooking a finger if it’s around your baby’s neck. The rest of the body will easily come out when the head and shoulders have come out. Don't try to cut, tie or pull the cord until help arrives.
The newborn baby will be very slippery, so first things first, you must towel the little one. Carefully remove the amniotic fluid from the corners of your baby’s eyes and drain it well from the nostrils, so that the baby can take the first few breaths after coming into this world.
Rest your baby on your chest or tummy because skin-to-skin contact will provide the warmth to your baby that he/she was getting inside the womb. Gently rub your baby’s back or chest and tab your baby’s bottom of the feet. If you observe anything suspicious, then you must gently puff air into your baby’s nose and mouth.
Once your baby is breathing properly you must bring your baby’s mouth near your nipples and initiate breastfeeding. A hormone called oxytocin is released then which helps in contracting the uterus and finally, the placenta is expelled out of the body.
Giving birth is challenging enough but giving birth alone can be very exacting and stressful. Try to get medical help as soon as you can and keep the above steps in your mind.
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