What to Do If You Have to Give Birth Alone at Home – 7 Handy Tips
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All pregnant ladies are seen to be brimming with excitement as they approach their date of delivery. Sometimes, they also feel worried if they will go into labour when they are all by themselves and reaching a hospital is difficult. What if you are in a situation where you end up with an unplanned home birth? You must not feel perturbed but, instead, stay calm and heed some simple instructions to go through the emergency delivery safely. Some women consider the birth of a child as intimate bonding time and opt to give birth completely alone.
Simple Tips for an Emergency Delivery By Yourself at Home
A lady who gives a normal birth, without any complications, does not need any external help as such. It is just useful to have someone around to help in case of complications or for encouragement and support. In case of an uncomplicated birth, the mother’s body does all the work, most of it being instinctive anyway. A healthy normal baby starts breathing on his own. Apart from this, the baby doesn’t need any care beyond what his mom can provide herself.
Many unattended and unassisted births happen which is evidence that women can give birth in the absence of medical professionals. Many risks are involved so you must remember that just because you can, does not mean you should. Giving birth alone in a bathroom is an empowering experience but not without the risk involved in it. Giving birth alone in bed is also not uncommon, provided the mother handles the situation very well. Here are a few simple tips for an emergency delivery.
1. Understand the Situation
You first have to gauge that the baby is ready to be delivered and you will not be able to make it to any hospital. Assess whether the contractions are frequent, strong and long; an indication of imminent delivery. The first baby takes longer than the subsequent ones and so, be mentally ready for the onslaught.
2. Call an Ambulance
In all the excitement of the arrival of the baby, do remember the most important things. The number for emergency ambulance service in India is 102. You must get the ambulance to reach you quickly and also call your obstetrician. Your doctor may be able to help you by talking you through the basic steps of emergency delivery or home birth, so put her on speakerphone. You must not forget to keep the door unlocked so that the medical personnel from the emergency ambulance service can enter your house and help you.
3. Know It is Natural and Stay Calm
There is no doubt that an unplanned delivery seems very frightening, but you need to stay calm and believe that your body knows how to deal with it. Do not panic or worry that the baby might get stuck or come out feet first. Do keep in mind that babies who are positioned in the ideal head down position arrive quickly and do not encounter any problems. Home births are very common and safe for low-risk mothers than hospital births. Women who opt for home birth suffer very few unnecessary medical interventions.
4. Keep Yourself Clean and Comfortable
Ensure proper cleanliness by washing your hands and the vaginal area. Try to keep a bucket of warm water and at least four clean towels to wipe and keep the baby warm and covered. To avoid a messy cleanup, you might feel like lying in the tub, but you will neither be comfortable nor easily accessible to the emergency team. You must rather lay towels, clean sheets, shower curtain or rugs on the floor. If you need to lie down while you are alone, you must use a bunch of pillows to prop yourself up. You must choose a position you are most comfortable in, whether squatting or being on all fours.
5. Withhold the Urge to Push until You Can’t
When you are in a situation when the baby is arriving unexpectedly, it is advisable not to bear down as your delicate tissues might get damaged. Panting helps in adding to the internal pressure and keeps you from holding your breath. Try to ease the baby out by just gently pushing. Once the baby’s head is visible, you must gently press your hands against your perineum. Just help the baby gently glide out gradually. Hook a finger under the umbilical cord and loosen it slowly if it is around your baby’s neck. Once the head is out, the shoulders and then the rest of the body should easily come out.
6. What Next, When the Baby is Out
As soon as the little one is delivered, you must towel him off and provide skin-to-skin contact by bringing the baby up to the belly or the chest. This is done to keep the baby warm and calm. Then, run your fingers from the corner of the eyes to the baby’s nostrils to drain off the amniotic fluid and stimulate first breath. Then you need to rub the sides of the back on the rib cage up and down vigorously until the baby begins breathing. Most of the babies these days start breathing on their own without the aid of any external stimulation or intervention. If your baby needs any help at all, then give two quick and extremely gentle puffs of air into the baby’s mouth and nose. The next step is to guide the baby’s mouth to the nipple to initiate breastfeeding. This helps the new mum to release oxytocin, a hormone which helps to contract the uterus further. Thus the placenta is expelled out of the body.
7. Don’t Tie or Cut the Umbilical Cord
The new mom should be very careful about the umbilical cord. Cutting it in a sterile fashion may not be very easy, and it may expose the baby to some infection. Moreover, at the time of birth, if the baby does not begin breathing on his own, this can prove lifesaving as thirty per cent of the baby’s blood is still in the placenta which can provide oxygen from two to five minutes. So the cord should remain attached and the placenta wrapped in a clean towel for some time until the EMT arrived. They can cut the cord in a sterile fashion.
There is a growing trend of free birth of babies in which women feel that they can handle the situation as they are aware of the procedure of childbirth and the risks associated with it. Such rapid births happen without the presence of a midwife, though, sometimes, paramedics arrive at the right time. New mothers should definitely make adequate preparations for the baby’s safe landing. If at all you don’t make it to the delivery room, your fears will be minimised if you know in advance what to do. Whenever you are in a state of doubt, always know that your body and the baby know much more than what you think.