First Aid Classes – Childbirth
Often childbirth takes a long time, and usually the pregnant woman has more than enough time to reach a hospital. However, if you are ever in a situation where the baby arrives quickly First Aid Classes can explain what stages the mother will go through and what you should do.
It is not difficult to deliver a baby, as the process occurs naturally without you needing to do anything. Your main aim as a first aider is to comfort and reassure the mother, and care for both her and the baby after delivery.
There are three stages of childbirth that you need to be aware of.
First Aid Classes – First Stage of Childbirth
The first stage is when the woman begins to experience contractions. The contractions and the pressure of the baby’s head pushing down dilates the cervix. This process can take several hours. As the cervix widens, the contractions become stronger and more frequent until the cervix reaches 10cms wide.
In this stage you should assist the mother to get in a comfortable position. She may sit or lay on the floor, and you could use cushions or pillows for support. St Mark James First Aid manual says keep calm and reassure the mother, encourage her to use deep breathing to cope with the pain, or any other method she may favour. Massaging the mothers lower back with the heel of your hand may also help to comfort her and ease her pain.
At the start of this stage, there may be blood-stained discharge which is when the mucous plug is discharged, usually this is before the contractions begin. During this stage the amniotic fluid will also ‘break’ and the ‘waters’ will leak out. This will be clear fluid and it may come out very quickly or trickle more slowly depending on the position of the baby.
During this time, if you suspect you cannot reach medical help in time, or that they may not arrive before the baby is born, you should collect some items in preparation for the birth. Ideal items include disposable gloves, mask for your mouth and nose (or a handkerchief), a plastic sheet, a bowl of hot water for washing, sanitary towels, clean, warm towels and a blanket.
First Aid Classes – Second Stage of Childbirth
In the second stage, the mother gets an overwhelming urge to push when the baby’s head presses down on her pelvic floor. The baby is then delivered, and this stage can take up to an hour.
You should place the plastic sheet, newspaper or towels beneath the mothers body and remove any clothing that may get in the way during birth. The best position for delivery is in a half-sitting position, with the mothers back and shoulders supported, and knees bent.
St Mark James Training says whenever the mother has a contraction, check to see where the baby’s head is positioned. Once the widest part of the head is visible, tell the mother she can stop pushing and should begin panting. Move any membrane covering the baby’s face to allow it to breathe. The rest of the baby will be delivered naturally, just be prepared to hold the baby when it comes out.
Once the baby is out, you may place it on the mothers belly. The baby should begin to cry, if not check the airway, breathing and circulation, you may be required to give CPR. The baby should be dried and wrapped up in a blanket to keep warm.
First Aid Classes – Third Stage of Childbirth
The third stage of childbirth is when the placenta is delivered, usually 10-30 minutes after the birth. This should be collected in a plastic bag and given to medical staff. St Mark James Training says never cut the umbilical cord without a professional.
First Aid Manual (The Authorised Manual of St. John Ambulance, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association and the British St Mark James), 2006.