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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 6: Pregnancy and Childbirth
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentStaying Healthy during Pregnancy
View the documentCommon Problems during Pregnancy
View the documentRisks and Danger Signs during Pregnancy
View the documentPrenatal Care (Check-ups during Pregnancy)
View the documentPreparing for Labor and Birth
Open this folder and view contentsGiving Birth
View the documentDifficult Births
View the documentDanger Signs for the Baby at Birth
View the documentCaring for the Mother and Baby after Birth
View the documentWomen with Special Needs
View the documentTo the Father
View the documentWorking for Change

Preparing for Labor and Birth


A pregnant woman should have these things ready by the seventh month of pregnancy:


¨ If you do not have a new razor blade, you can use rust-free scissors or a knife if you boil them for 20 minutes just before cutting the cord.

These are some additional supplies a midwife or birth attendant may have:


This is also the time to:

· plan transportation in case you need to go to the hospital.


· clean the birth place.



If you are pregnant, read this information to know what to expect during labor and after the baby is born. It will also make you better able to help other women during birth.

If you are helping a woman give birth, you can make a big difference in helping her have a safe and healthy birth. Remember that most babies are born without problems.

Stay calm and cheerful. Reassure the mother so that she will not be afraid. Let her know that you trust her ability to give birth.



· Keep your nails clean and cut short.

· Wash your hands with soap and clean water. Let them dry in the air.

· Know which women have extra risks and learn the ‘Danger Signs during Pregnancy’. Make sure the mother gives birth in a health center or hospital if she has any of these risks or danger signs.

· Learn the ‘Danger Signs during Labor’. Take the woman to a hospital if she has any of these signs.

· Treat her with kindness and respect.

¨ For safe childbirth practice the 3 cleans:

1. Clean hands


2. Clean place to give birth


3. Clean tool to cut the cord


Protect yourself from HIV and hepatitis by wearing clean gloves during a birth. If you do not have gloves, use washed plastic bags.



· Do not put your fingers or anything else in the woman’s vagina. Checking how much the womb has opened does not help the baby to be born, and may cause a dangerous infection.

· Do not give any medicine to speed up labor or to make labor stronger. These medicines can kill the mother and the baby. (Medicines that cause the womb to contract should only be used to stop bleeding after the baby is born.)

· Do not tell her to push before she is ready. When it is time for the baby to be born, she will feel like she has to pass stool and will start pushing on her own.

· Do not push on the outside of her womb to make the baby come out faster This can tear her womb or cause the placenta to separate from the womb too soon. Both the mother and the baby can die.