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It is your first pregnancy and you are alone at home just doing your usual house chores, then suddenly you feel your tummy contracting so much it hurts. Water flows down your legs and you realize that you are about to give birth! What do you do? Here’s a guide on how to be prepared if this happens:

What to do when I feel like my baby is coming?

Pregnant women are known to give birth not only at home but also inside a car, at the back of an ambulance or anywhere else that the situation permits. Often times, these births happen so suddenly that the family were not able to prepare anything for it. Unexpected birth is usually unattended by any health care professional but some are lucky enough to be able to cross paths with a stranger that turns out to have some medical knowledge.

Since situations like this happens often with first time mothers, it is important to know what to do to prevent unwarranted events that may put both the lives of the mother and the baby at risk.

1. Assess the situation first. Did you notice that the contractions became more frequent and stronger than normal so that you don’t even have time to rest in between? Or did you see a fluid gushing down your legs that doesn’t smell or look like urine? These are some things you might experience that point to you being in true labor. A first pregnancy often takes longer than the subsequent ones in terms of labor and delivery. If you were able to experience this before, there is a higher chance that it will repeat with the second pregnancy.

2. Call for HELP or 911! It is so much easier nowadays for help to arrive because of technology. Use it to your advantage and call 9-1-1 for help, inform them of your whereabouts and what you are experiencing for them to be able to guide you through the process, in case that your home is too far from the hospital. If you also know someone like a neighbor or a friend that is a healthcare professional, call them and ask for help. They might be able to assist you and if needed be the one to deliver your baby.

3. As much as possible, be calm. Nothing goes well with panicking! It will be frightening, especially when it’s your first time, but don’t worry and let your body do its work. It is inherent for women to bear a child and it will happen naturally. Home birth is still practiced in other rural areas and countries today!

4. Your comfort is important! Contractions are hard to deal with,which is why anything that can ease your comfort is helpful. Try to lie down on a bunch of pillows, this position is also ideal once you deliver your baby. Sitting up on the edge of the bed with your feet on a chair is good too but make sure that you have a partner if you do this so that someone will catch your baby when needed.

I have the urge to push! What to do?

They say to resist the urge to bear down as much as possible to prevent the delivery of your baby quickly and any damage to your tissue. Panting or breathing fast can help you, not holding your breath which contributes to adding pressure on your uterus. Lying on your left side may also ease the urge to bear down.

If you feel like your baby’s head is coming out, push whenever the contractions are at their peak (meaning your stomach is hard when touched) and gently press your hand against the perineum. Do not pull the baby’s head as it will naturally go out of the vaginal canal on its own, just guide it out. Once the head is out, gently push it downward, repeat this until the shoulders comes out. Once the shoulder is out, the rest of the body will easily follow.

Put the baby in your chest and dry him. Dry him using some clean towels from your emergency bag. Do not cut the umbilical cord first as it is safer for your baby at first, especially if you don’t have the right equipment which could expose your baby to infection.

Things to prepare for an emergency labor:

Nothing is better than being prepared in an emergency, here’s what you should prepare in your emergency bag in case you suddenly go into labor:

• A portable cellphone charger. calling for help is important! Having a cellphone charger will make sure that you will have enough power to talk to your partner or healthcare provider through the delivery process.

• Prepare a shower curtain and clean sheets. This will be used in the “delivery area” in your home or wherever you are. It will be used to cover any surface that you are currently lying on. It will also make sure to keep your delivery area clean and lessen the chances of contamination.

• Soap and latex gloves. These ones are a must because it is important to deliver the baby with clean hands. Hand sanitizer can also be considered if water is not available in your area.

• Dry towels. This will be used to dry the baby when he is already having a skin to skin contact with the mother. It will also be used to warm him up.
• Bulb Syringe. This is optional and your healthcare provider will tell you if you need it. It is used in clearing out secretions in your baby’s mouth and nose to help clean out the airway.

• Alcohol and cotton balls. Delivering a baby is ideal in a sterile area like in the delivery room of a hospital. Aside from boiling water, alcohol can be used to sterilize the items that are needed during the delivery of the baby.

• Garbage bag for the placenta. This should be taken to the hospital with you. Another bag should be kept for the trash used during the delivery.

• Sanitary pads, pain medication, clean underwear, and a change of clothes to keep you comfortable even after delivery of the baby.

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