Giving birth in emergency situations.

Discussion in 'Other Advanced Survival Skills' started by Correy, May 22, 2016.

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  1. Correy

    Correy Expert Member

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    Being pregnant happens, and emergency situations won't ask us "Hey, is it ok if I ruin your day?".

    So let's see what happens if a woman happens to find herself in a situation where she's giving birth alone.

    First of all this can also happen in non-emergency situations like e.g. the waters breaking a couple of days earlier than the expected hospital arrangement.

    Second of all, it's important to assess whether you're really going into labour. It's obvious if the waters break, but before that happens, there will be strong contractions and an involuntary urge to push. Those are the early signs, and it's important:
    • to use those you get either yourself into safety/shelter or call 911* (if it's available, or there's a hospital close enough) or call someone to get to you.
    • to resist the urge to push for the moment: if you push and the baby comes out too fast there's greater chance of vaginal tears and uncontrollable bleeding. If you're alone, it's best to ease into it.
    The span of time a woman has from early symptoms to delivery is longer when a woman is having her first child. So if this is your first child you have more time to react.

    *if 911 is available the dispatched team will be put on the speaker and provide more guidance until they arrive.

    Third, if the labour is coming earlier than expected, then the likelyhood of having problems like an overturned baby is lower than overdue pregnancies. After all, if a baby comes earlier then that means it's already positioned into place.

    Fourth, the woman in delivery has to be placed in a comfortable position, and wash the hands and vaginal area with soap of whatever other disinfectant is available at the moment. There must be plenty of towels handy to wipe the newborn down and keep it warm afterwards. I there are no towels a clean sizable cloth will do.

    • The woman should take a position sideways and not belly-up. It's only suggested to lie on her back if there's a second person there to handle the baby. Instead a sideways position both takes off pressure from your back and veins that feed the umbilical cord, as well as make it easier for the woman to reach down and handle the baby herself. However some people find it more comfortable to squat or stand on all fours, so if you see that a position isn't working just change the position.

    • Instead of pushing (we explained this above), the woman can push by panting. That will enable her to put smaller amounts of pressure. Remember: you actually don't need to push at all to get the baby out, the uterine muscle walls will do that for you.
    • Do not pull the baby. There's a reason I said "handle" instead of "pull" earlier, and that's because you're not supposed to violently tug the baby out, as you could easily dislocate and/or break its bones. Since at first you only grasp the head, it's very easy to decapitate (internaly) the head). You're supposed to gently guide it out and make sure that the umbilical cord isn't tied around its neck.
    Once the baby is out, make sure to wrap it gently with towels (not suffocatingly tight!), and bring the baby to skin-to-skin contact. That way the baby is kept warm.

    Do not cut the umbilical cord yet. Leave it be for a few minutes until it gives out all the blood it's capable, because 30% of the baby's blood is still on the placenta. Also cutting in with non-sterile items can cause an infection to the newborn. The umbilical cord will close the flow on it's own, so bother yourself with other things in priority.

    To help the baby breathe, massage the sides of the nostrils to help the amniotic fluid leave the nasal cavity and massage the back of its torso to encourage respiratory movement. Most babies draw their first breath since their first contact to the external world by the shock of the temperature drop, so there's no need to stimulate by hitting the butt as we see in the movies. Only 1% of babies require resucitation, and when you're alone and realise the baby is not breathing you open the mouth with a finger gently and puff a couple of small breaths into its lung. Don't try to puff breath like you would an adult, as babies have much smaller lungs and it could put too much stress on them.

    Next comes breastfeeding. After the initiation of breastfeeding there's a rush of oxytocin and the placenta will exit the uterus in about 20 minutes, so there will still be some contractions until that's done and over.

    In the end wait for the EMTs to cut the umbilical cord in a sterile manner. If you are still alone after you have completed all the above, with no hope of someone else coming to provide you with help, you can cut the umbilical cord by using whatever is closest to a sterilized blade. A heated knife is one idea. A sterilised scalpel blade fresh from the package is a better idea. At this point the umbilical cord has stopped the blood flow on its own so there's less posibility of infection.

    Sounds like a handful doesn't it? This is why keeping friends with a midwife is handy in a post-apocalyptic setting.
    Keith H. likes this.
  2. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    Good one Correy, kind of scary though!
  3. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist

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    I am a woman and has no background whatsoever in the medical field. And although my older sister is a nurse, I have to admit that I am in no way equipped to even assist in such an emergency. All I can do to help is to be the errand girl like if they need water or linen, and some other things needed in delivering a baby. In fact, I am scared to hold a newborn human for it looks so frail that I might harm it unintentionally.

    There are lots of cases here where a woman gave birth while traveling - on the plane, in the bus or train or cab. I'm really glad that I haven't encountered such an emergency in the streets.
  4. Lisa Davis

    Lisa Davis Active Member

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    I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a woman give birth during a hurricane. It was messy, difficult, painful, and scary. There weren't any complications thankfully, because none of us were even remotely equipped to handle them. It also was not her first child, it was her fourth, so she was kind of an "old pro." She was probably the calmest of the three of us present.
  5. Moroccanbeauty2266

    Moroccanbeauty2266 Active Member

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    It would be a nightmare for me to have to give birth in the middle of nowhere. I would be so scared that something would go wrong. Apart from that, I have had 3 C-sections and I do not think it will be wise to have a natural birth. But you know it is strange because in many other countries, such as Africa or South America it seems quite normal to give birth in nature and literally survive it. Don't get me wrong, I admire the women who can do that. I just hope in case something like that happens that people help each other as best as possible and not just stand there and watch.
  6. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member

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    i'd be a bit more philosophical , do you really want to bring a baby into a world where everything may be in turmoil? where there may not be enough food for everyone already here never mind the ones to come? daily survival may be (no, it WILL be) hard work without an extra mouth to feed.
    people will carry on having babies,for sure, but you must be made aware of the risks this might entail before committing to this course of action.
  7. Correy

    Correy Expert Member

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    Still, if the lady is in the middle of her pregnancy or in a late state of pregnancy when all hell breaks loose, then the baby has to come out either way, whether she aborts it or gives birth to it. In that case if people or the pregnant lady don't know what has to be done, then both of them might even die.
    Plus, the baby will feed from the mother for the first months of lactation, so you only really need to feed the mother and hopefully she'll be the kind of person who can take care of herself.

    The choice "food for me" vs "food for my child" depends on the person. There are parents who would kill to have a child and they gear their whole life as well as their prepping, around the idea of having children post-dissaster.
  8. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member

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    well I wish them the best of luck, thankfully not something i'm going to have to consider.(being a bloke and never having kids).
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