What to Do When Your Baby Comes Quickly

Photo by  Alex Hockett  on  Unsplash

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

I’ve got precipitous labor on the brain today after accidentally delivering my first baby in the parking lot outside of the local ER last week, on my birthday, no less! It was an incredible, adrenaline-filled moment.

Even though it’s rarely the case that babies are born before the laboring person can get to their birth place, it can happen and it can be scary! But there are some things you can do to help remain calm and have a healthy birth and healthy baby. When babies are born that quickly, generally everything is fine, so just make sure to have a towel ready because babies are slippery and allow your body to do the rest! Below I’ve included some steps from Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn to follow if Baby seems to be arriving very quickly.

Do as many of the following tasks as possible if you expect a rapid birth without the attendance of a medical professional. A rapid birth can be hectic, but try to remember to use what you’ve learned about the birth process, as well as relaxation and breathing techniques.

1. Get help, if possible. Call your partner, you caregiver, the hospital, or 911. If your partner can’t be with you in person, try to get someone else - a neighbor or evan a child - to assist you.

2. Gather clean sheets, towels or paper towels, tissues, and extra clothing to be used during the birth and for your baby.

3. Wash your hands.

4. Remove all clothing from your bottom and vaginal area.

5. Lie on your side or sit leaning back. Make sure you’re in a clean place with enough room for your baby to rest as she slips out of your body.

6. Put a sheet, towel or something clothing under your bottom.

7. Try not to hold your breath if your body is pushing. Keep panting through each contraction until your baby is born.

8. After you baby is born:

-Wipe away any mucus from her nose and mouth. Remove any membranes covering her face.

-Wipe her head and body to dry her

-Place her on your bare abdomen or chest to keep her warm.

-Cover your baby and yourself using cloths, towels, or clothing.

9. Don’t clamp or cut the cord.

10. Put your baby to your breast, and let her breastfeed, if possible.

11. If you’re at home, await the birth of the placenta. (If the placenta isn’t expelled in fifteen to twenty minutes, try kneeling to see if gravity can help it come out. If it doesn’t, go to the hospital.) If you’re in a car, have your partner or another person drive you and your baby to the hospital.

12. Place the placenta nearby in a bowl, newspaper, or cloth. (It’ll still be attached to the cord and your baby.)

13. Place towels or a pad between your legs to absorb the blood flow.

14. Go to the hospital or get medical help as soon as possible to check both you and your baby. A medical professional will also cut the umbilical cord and check your placenta.

Note: The medical emergency team may arrive in time to help you with some of these tasks.

If your baby doesn’t breathe spontaneously

First, have someone call 911, if possible. Place your baby on his stomach with his head lower than his body, then rub his back briskly but gently. If he doesn’t respond within thirty seconds, hold his ankles together and smack the soles of his feet. If your baby still doesn’t breathe, check for mucus in his mouth with your finger. If you know how to give infant CPR, do so while waiting for medical assistance.

If you have excessive bleeding from your vagina

Some bleeding normally occurs after labor and birth, both before and after the placenta is expelled. However, excessive bleeding (more than 500 milliliters or 2 cups) may mean a postpartum hemorrhage, especially if you begin to have symptoms of shock such as rapid pulse, pale skin, trembling, faintness, feeling cold, and sweating. Don’t try to measure the amount of blood; your symptoms are a better sign of shock. If you or your partner suspect that you have a postpartum hemorrhage, call 911. You or your partner should firmly massage your fundus (the top of your uterus) in a circle until the uterus contracts, and encourage your baby to nurse (or you or your partner can stroke your nipples) to stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions. To avoid shock, lie down and elevate your hips so they’re higher than your head. Get to the hospital or call for an ambulance if you haven’t already done so.

Maggie Mehr