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What to do if labor begins before the ambulance arrives


The birth of a first child is a long-awaited moment for parents. However, the baby doesn’t ask for permission when it’s time to enter the world. Sometimes, rapid labor begins suddenly and causes enormous stress to the expectant mother. Therefore, every woman who is expecting a baby should thoroughly prepare for this unplanned situation. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step actions on what to do if labor begins before the ambulance arrives.

First actions of the mother in labor

The success of emergency home delivery largely depends on the woman herself. First and foremost, she must take the following actions:

  • Call for help. The woman in labor should compile a list of people who can provide assistance in an emergency situation and inform them in advance.
  • Open the door for the helper. After alerting someone about the sudden onset of labor, it is necessary to ensure that the person can easily enter the apartment.
  • Prepare a place for delivery. The bed should be covered with plastic wrap, and a clean sheet should be placed on top of it. This measure is taken to prevent furniture and its components from getting dirty with amniotic fluid and blood.
  • Place the prepared hospital bag by the door. The mother should prepare essentials in advance so that she or her assistant does not waste time on additional preparations.

Emergency delivery in practice is a rather hectic process. Therefore, following this preparatory stage tactic will save time and nerves for both the mother in labor and her assistant.

What should the helper do?

To ensure that the person who has agreed to help does not experience any additional stress in the situation, the pregnant woman must instruct them. The partner should be clear on what to do if labor begins before the ambulance arrives.

Here is a step-by-step guide for the helper during labor:

Calmness and composure are key to successfully helping the woman in labor. Maintain these emotions throughout the entire emergency labor process, which consists of the following steps:

  • Remove the pregnant woman’s upper and constrictive clothing.
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap.
  • Place several terry towels under the woman’s pelvis. Their texture has excellent moisture-absorbing properties, which will ensure dryness during the rupture of the amniotic sac and vaginal bleeding.

Important! The first stage of labor lasts individually for each woman: for some, it may be several hours, while for others, it can last a day or more. The sign of the second stage of labor is the woman’s contractions – this indicates the imminent birth of the baby. The pushing stage lasts much less, but its duration can be several hours.

In the second stage, the assistant’s role is more significant. If medical professionals have not yet arrived, but the baby is already on the way out, we offer you a guide on how to deliver the baby before the ambulance arrives:

  • Wash hands with soap and use an antiseptic solution.
  • Prepare sterile gloves. They should be put on when the baby’s head appears from the open cervix.
  • When the head is fully visible, pay attention to whether the umbilical cord has wrapped around the baby’s neck. If it has, gently lift it above the head or move it back behind the shoulders.
  • After the head is born, it is essential to monitor the exit of the shoulders from the uterus. As a rule, this happens without additional assistance from the assistant. If the shoulders are still difficult to deliver, the baby’s head should be pressed against the mother’s back. Another effective way to help deliver the shoulders is to pull the mother’s knees towards her chest. In this case, the pelvis moves intensively, pushing the baby out.

Throughout the entire second period, the assistant should give clear and loud commands.

Algorithm of actions with a newborn for an assistant

The most difficult stage is already behind. However, the first minutes of a child’s life are the most important in terms of adapting to the environment. What should an assistant do with a newborn:

  • The baby should be placed on the mother’s chest and covered with a warm blanket.
  • There are cases when a newborn shows no signs of life: doesn’t breathe or cry. If such a situation arises, the baby’s back should be well rubbed or turned face up and the head should be slightly tilted back. This will open up their airways. Massage the back until signs of breathing appear.
  • If the newborn vomits, remove the mucus from the mouth and nose using a sterile syringe without a needle.
  • It is not recommended to cut the umbilical cord yourself. It is better to leave the process to emergency medical personnel. If for some reason the medics have not arrived at the mother’s location by this time, the manipulation will have to be performed independently. To do this, prepare sharp scissors that need to be sterilized with alcohol immediately before the manipulation, and thread. Using the thread, tie the umbilical cord in two places on the side of the baby at a distance of up to 8 cm. Then make a cut between the knots.

Important! Do not rush to cut the umbilical cord. This process should be carried out when the blood stops pulsating in the cord.

Rules that the mother should follow.

To maximize childbirth ease and expedite the baby’s normalization, it is necessary to follow these principles:

  • Normalization of breathing: deep inhale and prolonged exhale.
  • Comfortable clothing: the assistant should not feel embarrassed, even if the helper is not a close male. Choose comfortable clothing or even be without it. In this case, we are talking about successful childbirth and the life of both the baby and you.
  • Choose a comfortable position in the first stage of labor. It facilitates childbirth.
  • After childbirth, hold the baby to your body. It speeds up their adaptation to the outside world.

In the article, we outlined what to do for a pregnant woman before the arrival of the ambulance. However, we strongly emphasize that these algorithms do not cancel the provision of qualified medical assistance and are used in emergency childbirth situations.

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