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What Do You Do During Labor if You Can’t Get to a Hospital?

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What Do You Do During Labor if You Can’t Get to a Hospital?

Jun 23, 2016

First and foremost - do not panic. Do not get into a car and drive yourself to the hospital. Get to ground level and listen to your body. Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones reminds us that women all over the world deliver babies outside of a hospital and goes through the basic steps to deliver your baby at home when getting to the hospital is just not an option.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: You are about to go into labor, your husband's nowhere to be found, you can't get to the hospital in time. What do you do? We'll tell you coming up next on The Scope.

Announcer: Covering all aspects of women's health this is The Seven Domains of Women's Health with Dr. Kirtly Jones, on The Scope.

Interviewer: We're here with Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones. I'm sure that if you're about to give labor at home with nobody there to help you or you're stuck in an elevator or somewhere, you're not going to pull out the internet and listen to this podcast. You know, to conscience people, what can women do who are about to go into labor?

Dr. Jones: About to give birth.

Interviewer: About to give birth. There we go, labor's different. About to give birth, with nobody around to help or inexperienced people around how to help

Dr. Jones: There are those women who have very rapid labors and lucky for them, but it is a little scary. Some women who have 15 minute labors or they have their first contraction and then they have their second contraction and then all of a sudden they feel the baby coming. Now this is not something that usually happens to first time moms. It's more likely to happen to women who've given birth before, meaning the pathway through the pelvis has been stretched a little, the baby can come out a little faster.

Interviewer: Now you've mentioned that, I remember my mom because I was about six when she had my little baby brother and she literally had the baby, she literally had him in the elevator. But she was surrounded by people. They were rolling her into the delivery room and he just came out before they even got there.

Dr. Jones: You got her on a stretcher, so at least she's lying down. The baby is not going to fall on the floor.

Interviewer: Doctor's with her.

Dr. Jones: Let's say you have fast labors and you feel your water break and you have your first contraction and then you know the baby's coming. Maybe you have time to grab your phone for 911, but the first thing is, don't try to get in the car and drive. Just don't do that.

The first thing is to get at ground level. Could be a bed if you want to or it could be the floor. If you're going to give birth that fast, it's often that you've had a baby before and that's a good thing. The baby is not going to get stuck. If you feel the baby is coming, then the head is already on the pelvic floor. It is way down.

Interviewer: It is less pain for you.

Dr. Jones: You know have the urge to push, that baby is on its way. That's the good news and the urge to push is uncontrollable. What do you need to do? First of all, the baby is going to come out. The baby is coming out you can, when the baby is out, you'll know the baby is out. The placenta isn't out yet.

But what you really need to do is to have some kind of cloth or a towel so that you could wipe the baby dry because if it's chilly, and the baby is wet, which it will be, then it will get cold. You want to dry off the baby and then put the baby skin to skin with you. It is not your job and you should not pull on the placenta. Hopefully you're not going to be there by yourself for the next three days.

Interviewer: Hopefully not.

Dr. Jones: Hopefully that's not going to happen.

Interviewer: Maybe 30 minutes.

Dr. Jones: The placenta itself is a very risky time for mom. With the baby, it's risky for the mom and the baby if the baby gets stuck. But of course it's not getting stuck if the baby is on its way and then we worry about the placenta coming out. But the best thing to do would be to actually dry the baby off if you can.

If you've got a towel, put the baby skin to skin on your chest. If you want, you can put the baby to your breast. The baby, if he's breathing well or if she's breathing well, may actually grab onto a nipple and suck a little bit.

Interviewer: That early?

Dr. Jones: Yes, and that would be great because it will help your uterus contract. Stimulation of the nipple releases oxytocin, which makes your uterus contract. And that's really what you want to expel the placenta. You need to wipe the baby off, put it skin to skin. If the baby isn't breathing, then you can give a little spank if you want to.

Interviewer: Just to hear it cry.

Dr. Jones: You can give it a blow in the face, that sometimes can stimulate a baby to breathe. If the baby is really tiny then that's even more important that it keep warm. And you can breathe in the baby's nose or face, put your mouth over the baby's nose or face and give it a little breath if it's not breathing. But mostly the issue is getting it close and warm.

Get down, get comfortable. The baby's going to come, lucky you, unfortunately. Put the baby to breast if you can and that will help the uterus contract. People do this all over the world. Babies that come out too fast are probably better than babies that get stuck.

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