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This is Part Two in a series I am calling "Preparedness and the Childbearing Family".
This is the link to the first post in the series:
In the prior post I discussed at some length, emergency supplies each potential childbearing family should have, and if you, as a principle preparedness person (the place where the adult children and wives and grands travel) should have in your emergency supplies. This of course is in addition to the normal medical supplies I have mentioned with regard to Medical Evacuation Kit, and Family Medical Kit designed to remain in your home.
These are links for supplies for the basic kits your family should amass for "shelter in place" events and for medical kit for family evacuation. Please also see the link above, as it has essential information.
Getting the supplies in your home and knowing what they are, is key. It is possible that in an emergency, you would not be the one using them. A squad member, police officer or EMT who lives down your street, a nurse, a midwife, or even a physician might be helping you in an emergency.
However, sometimes we just aren't that lucky, and so this is the learning component designed to accompany all those supplies I indicated you should have.
This is NOT a blog post on how to deliver your newest family member without the aid of physicians, midwives or professionals. Entire libraries are written on this subject. It's a vast field. Physicians who complete medical school, and a year of internship, then spend three to four years in residency learning all of the aspects of this, and then may actually complete an additional two to three years of fellowship in a related sub-specialty. Certified Nurse Midwives are Registered Nurses who completed a Master's degree in a program for Nurse Midwifery.
This post is a beginning point where the public can begin to gather basic information as a foundation, which can be added to later. The information contained here is so important that it may save a life, and this is the spirit in which it is being given.
Suppose an emergency has taken place and your married son and daughter and their one year old son are staying with you. It's Summer and they have been busy helping you plant more vegetables, weeding the vegetable beds, and harvesting some things periodically. Your distant neighbor and trading partner Jeff has his daughter Chloe and her husband staying with them. Chloe is about eight months pregnant. Her pregnancy has been normal and uneventful, and Jeff has been hoping that the emergency ends allowing his daughter to return to nearer the city where the possibility of a hospital birth exists. His house and yours are seventy miles from any hospital and the hospitals are presently diverting people because they are full following the emergency. You have your emergency childbirth kit from the last blog post. One day when you are working outside, breathless Jeff comes to you and tells you that Chloe is in labor and he needs help.
Although each birth can be said to be unique, even for the same woman, there are sufficient commonalities that we can train people to expect and manage what is essentially a normal birth. Then, we can hope for the best. There is no guarantee that a non-medical birth will result in a healthy baby and a healthy mother afterward, there is much that we can do toward that end. Although it is true that women have been having babies for all time, it is also true that one hundred years ago, most children under five, died. Of thirteen children, families often lost multiple sons and daughters, and stillbirths and maternal deaths were fairly common. These are the things we can do in order to make this journey as safe as possible given the circumstances above.
If you find yourself in an emergency, then these are basic directions for managing emergency childbirth.
You will need the emergency birth kit I mentioned you should have in the last post.
1. If during an emergency, (impending hurricane, war, civil unrest, terrorist attack, earthquake etc.) you should try to transport the mother to an operational medical facility. This is not always possible, and this is the purpose of this post. In this event, you should make every attempt to activate the emergency medical system, if it is accessible as labor begins. In an emergency, you may need ambulance transport if possible, or even just an EMT who might walk to your location, if the emergency of the day has tied up emergency transport.
2. Prepare a location for emergency childbirth. If at your home, or her own, place her in a single bed, if possible, with multiple pillows. Position the pillows to permit a sitting posture in the bed, because at times, this will be best. Prepare the bed by placing a folded new shower curtain plastic liner in the middle of the bed and tucking it in on both sides. Place chux on top of that. Then above that place a flat sheet folded in half, and ironed (to kill any germs) Place that also in the middle of the bed to cover the shower curtain liner and chux (this is one brand of disposable plastic lined padding) and firmly tuck it in on both sides of the bed.
3. Early in the labor if she is not nauseated, she may drink clear fluids. Make sure she urinates about once an hour She may leave the bed to use the bathroom early in labor, but later, you must escort her.
4. These people are depending upon you to be as calm as possible, regardless of the outcome here. This woman's outlook and emotional reserve are essential. Stay positive and encouraging. Even though they can certainly be a support, there are to be no pets in the room with the laboring woman. Part of this is that this needs to be as clean a room as possible, and in addition, this can be a confusing time for pets as well as for people. Sometimes a pet who is normally gentle will misunderstand what is going on during an intense part of the delivery and can attack someone. You don't need additional patients ! Lastly, keep the room calm.