Unassisted Birth: What Should a Woman Know? How to Get Prepared?

unassisted birth. woman holding the newborn

Today, it is difficult to imagine that a woman, for some reason, cannot reach the hospital or call for help if she feels that she is giving birth. But nevertheless, such emergency situations are quite possible. In this article, we will talk about unassisted birth and some rules of behavior in an emergency situation.

Most often, the reason for independent unassisted birth is rapid childbirth. Sometimes a woman has to give unassisted birth because, for some reason, she cannot reach the maternity hospital in time.

In this situation, you need to calm down and know how to behave at every stage of childbirth. As a rule, a woman has instincts. She unconsciously knows what to do. But do not rely only on nature. A woman should be ready for any surprises and know how to deal with them.

Unassisted Birth: the Causes of Emergency Childbirth

A premature birth is a birth which starts in the 22nd-37th week of pregnancy. The 38th week of pregnancy is quite a normal time for delivery.

The risk factors of a premature delivery:

  • The overgrowth of the uterus – happens after multiple pregnancies, the abundance of water, and also when a fetus is big;
  • The malformations of the uterus;
  • Low hemoglobin;
  • Diseases of the uterus;
  • Injuries;
  • Heart diseases;
  • Women under the age of 18.

Another reason for an unassisted birth is accelerated labor. In this case, the birth takes around 4 hours for women who are giving birth for the first time. And 2 hours – for women who have already given birth.

Rapid births are characterized by rapid development. During a normal birth, the period of delivery pains lasts around 8 hours for the first-born and 4 hours for the second child. During a rapid birth, it usually takes only 2 hours.

How to Behave During the Unassisted Birth?

The first thing is not to panic! Calm down because panicking has not yet helped anyone.

It is necessary to immediately call an ambulance. Even if the ambulance arrives too late and the labor has already started you will have doctors who will help you give birth. Also, the doctors will hospitalize you right after the delivery.

Sometimes it happens that a woman does not have time to reach the maternity hospital and the birth takes place in the car. In such a situation, it is better to contact the traffic police. They will help you to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Do not forget that there is a first aid kit in every car.  You may need it for an emergency unassisted birth.

Unassisted Birth. Pregnant woman in a car

Still, it is better to stay at home if you feel that you will not be able to reach a hospital in time.

Call for help. It is very important to have someone near in such an important moment.

Periods of Childbirth:

I period – the opening of the cervix. In this period, a woman feels dilatation pains and contractions. It begins with the appearance of regular birth pangs and ends with the full opening of the cervix.

II period – the appearance of the fetus. It begins with the full disclosure of the cervix and ends with the birth of a child. In this period, the woman is bearing down.

III period – the birth of the placenta. This period begins with the birth of the child and ends with the birth of the placenta.

How to Get Prepared for an Unassisted Birth?

First, take off your clothes and put a clean nightgown on. Put clean bed sheets on the bed. Ask your assistant to disinfect their hands.

Take a comfortable lying position.

Having birth pangs, you need to breathe deeply and slowly. Do not hold your breath. It can be dangerous for the baby. The baby can develop hypoxia.

While having birth pangs, try to breathe more often. Also, try not to scream.

unassisted birth. breathing technique

Ensure that the necessary activities are carried out. Most often, at first, there appears the back of the baby’s head (rarely the forehead, the face). Later it turns toward the right or left thigh of the mother. After the head is born, the assistant must put a palm under it. Then the assistant should remove the liquid from the nose and oral cavity of the baby.

After the appearance of the neck, the assistant should carefully see whether the baby has a cord around the neck. With a loop of the cord, you need to remove the umbilical cord from the child’s head. Sometimes there is a two-, three-fold loop. If you do not remove the cord from her neck the further progress of the baby through the birth canal would be difficult. Also, this can cause acute hypoxia (oxygen starvation) of the fetus. After the birth of the head, within one or two pangs, there appear shoulders. Quickly after that, the whole child is born. The assistant should support the body of the baby by two hands. As a rule, the body and legs of the fetus are born without difficulties. The reward for the transferred pain will be a loud cry of the newborn.

The Umbilical Cord

After the birth of the child, your assistant needs to cut the umbilical cord. You need to have sterile scissors for this. First, you need to tie the umbilical cord two centimeters from the baby’s abdomen. Cut it 1 cm above the bandage site.

At the last stage of childbirth, a woman should give birth to the placenta. After the birth, it should be put in a package.  So, the doctors can check its wholeness.

After Giving an Unassisted Birth

A woman can have a bleeding after giving birth. In such a situation, you need to put towels between your legs. It is well-known that while breastfeeding, the woman’s uterus begins to contract. That’s why you need to put the baby to the breast immediately. This will help to stop the bleeding. You also need to put ice on the stomach and perineum.

unassisted birth. ice

If the child does not start breathing on their own, rub their tummy and back.

If you have a severe bleeding, massage the uterus with your hands. Put something cold on the stomach. You also need to lie down so that your legs are slightly raised. And wait for the help that you called out.

Be calm, talk to the child. It will calm you down.

Childbirth outside the maternity home is an extreme situation. If you fall under the risk group of premature or accelerated labor it is better to foresee the situation and go to the hospital in advance.

An Unassisted Birth

The most unfavorable situation is if the mother is alone, without the means of communication. If no one is around and there is nothing near at hand, first of all, calm down. Sit down and lean against any support. You should sit in a semi-sitting position. Do not sit on the bare ground or floor at all. Find some kind of footcloth. Bend your legs. Relax, breathe, and massage your back. Focus only on the birth of your baby. Then all the actions that the assistant did in the first case you have to do yourself. As soon as the head appears (at this moment you will feel a burning sensation in the birth canal), you can lean back and stretch your hand down as if from the back, taking and supporting the baby’s head.

As the baby turns, watch the position of the umbilical cord. Do not hurry. Do not pull the baby and, after their birth, the umbilical cord. After the birth, pull the baby to the bottom of the abdomen, supporting it under the head and under the ribs. Tie the umbilical cord. If there is no clean bandage, it is better not to bind it at all. Wipe the nose and the mouth of the baby and attach them to the breast. Cover yourself and the child with something warm.

unassisted birth. Mother holding newborn

The Placenta

In a few minutes, the placenta must be born. If breastfeeding does not stimulate the uterus to expel the placenta, gently “pinch” the stomach with two fingers in a clockwise order.

If you do not have anything clean, do not put anything on the perineum. In any way try to reach the place where you can be provided with if not medical aid, then at least means of communication and basic hygiene means.

If the baby does not begin to breathe themselves, intensively rub their chest and back, supporting the head. Take the baby’s feet and clap the soles.

If bleeding after giving birth doesn’t stop it is very dangerous for the mother’s life. If you have only your own hands, press on the uterus, squeeze it, stimulate the contraction. Try to lie down at an angle so that the head is below your legs. Put something cold on your stomach (frozen food, a bottle of water, ice, etc.).

Contact the hospital. Even after an uncomplicated birth outside the hospital, you urgently need to get to the nearest medical institution where the obstetrician can examine you and remove the placenta if it did not separate. The doctor will also sew the ruptures in the cervix and soft tissues up and prevent postpartum hemorrhage due to insufficient uterine contraction. Your child will be carefully examined as well. A neonatologist (a pediatrician specializing in newborns) will provide the baby with the required help and will prevent the infectious complications.

unassisted birth. neonatologist examines the baby

An Unassisted Birth Is a Great Risk

An unassisted birth outside the maternity home is an extreme and very risky situation. And in order not to get in such a situation, try to observe the following rules.

On the eve of birth do not go far from home. Do not plan any distant trips and travels from the 30th week of pregnancy (especially with long air travel). Always have a passport and a medical card. So, the doctors will have full information about the course and complications of your pregnancy, and you will be provided with timely medical assistance.

Do not risk your health and the life of your baby. Even if you know how the childbirth is going and you are ready for any surprises there are situations when the delivery is impossible without the help of a doctor in a hospital. Therefore, at the first signs of regular labor, call an ambulance or go to the hospital.

References
1. http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unassisted_childbirth

3. http://jennifermargulis.net/blog/2017/04/personal-story

4. http://www.indiebirth.com/preparing-for-a-freebirthunassisted-birth/

5. http://www.birthtakesavillage.com/unasissted-birth-qa/

6. https://skepticalmothering.com/2011/12/28/unassisted-childbirth/

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