How to Assist in Labor (with Pictures)

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How to Assist in Labor (with Pictures)
How to Assist in Labor (with Pictures)

If you're a father-to-be or a taxi driver who happens to be carrying passengers, you may be forced to assist with the delivery without the help of a medical professional. Don't let too many people have this problem and they can do it. Most of the action that needs to be done is to help the mother to relax and let her body work naturally. That said, there are steps you should take to make sure everything runs smoothly until help arrives.


Part 1 of 5: Preparing for Birth

Deliver a Baby Step 1
Deliver a Baby Step 1

Step 1. Call for help whenever possible

Call emergency services. By doing this step, even if you have to help with the delivery yourself, help will come right away if complications occur. The operator can also assist you during labor or put you in touch with someone who can provide guidance.

Call the mother's doctor or midwife if she has one. They can usually be reached for help over the phone and guide you through the birth process

Deliver a Baby Step 2
Deliver a Baby Step 2

Step 2. Determine where the labor stage is going

The first stage of labor is called the "latent" stage, when the body is getting ready to give birth which is marked by the opening of the cervix. This phase generally takes a long time, especially if this is the birth of your first child. The second stage, or "active" stage, occurs when the cervix is fully dilated.

  • At this stage the mother may not experience as much pain or discomfort as the later stages.
  • If the mother is fully dilated and you can see the baby's head, this is stage two. Wash your hands, move on to the next stage and get ready to pick up the baby.
  • Do not attempt to examine the cervix unless you have been trained to do so. Just watch if the baby's head starts to appear.
Deliver a Baby Step 3
Deliver a Baby Step 3

Step 3. Count contractions

Count the time from the start of a contraction to the start of the next contraction, and note how long the contractions last. The further away the stage of labor is, the more regular, stronger, and closer the contractions will be. Here's what you need to know about contractions:

  • Contractions that occur every 10 minutes or less are signs that the expectant mother has entered labor. Doctors recommend that you call the hospital when contractions occur every 5 minutes and last for 60 seconds, and have been going on for an hour. You still have time to go to the hospital if it is close to your home.
  • First-time mothers-to-be tend to give birth when contractions last three to five minutes and last 40 to 90 seconds with increasing strength and frequency for at least an hour.
  • If contractions occur two minutes apart or less, be prepared to assist in labour, especially if the mother has given birth to several children and has a history of rapid delivery. Also, if the mother feels like she is going to have a bowel movement, the baby may already be moving through the birth canal, applying pressure to the rectum, and ready to come out.
  • If the baby is born prematurely, you should contact the mother's doctor and emergency services if there are signs of birth.
Deliver a Baby Step 4
Deliver a Baby Step 4

Step 4. Sterilize your arms and hands

Remove all jewelry, such as rings or watches. Wash your hands thoroughly with antimicrobial soap and warm water. Rub your arms up to the elbows. If you have enough time, wash your hands for five minutes; if you don't have time, wash your hands thoroughly for at least one minute.

  • Don't forget to rub between your fingers and under your nails. Use a nail brush or even a toothbrush to clean the area under the nails.
  • Wear sterile gloves if available. Do not wear other gloves that may be full of bacteria, such as gloves for washing dishes.
  • For the final touch (or if soap and water are not available), use an alcohol-based or pure alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill any bacteria and viruses that may be on your skin. This action will prevent infection in the mother-to-be or the baby.
Deliver a Baby Step 5
Deliver a Baby Step 5

Step 5. Prepare the delivery area

Prepare and arrange all the necessary equipment so that it is within your reach, and as much as possible the mother-to-be is comfortable. Conditions after delivery will be very messy, so you need to prepare a delivery area that can accommodate all the chaos that will occur.

  • Have some clean towels and sheets ready. If you have a waterproof tablecloth or clean vinyl bathroom curtain, you can use it to keep blood and other liquids from staining the furniture or carpet. In an emergency, you can use newsprint, but it is not hygienic.
  • Prepare a blanket or warm and soft cloth to cover the baby. Newborns need to stay warm after birth.
  • Find some pillows. Maybe you will need it to support the mother when she pushes. Cover with clean sheets or towels.
  • Fill a clean bowl with warm water, and have scissors, some string, alcohol, cotton wool, and a bulb syringe ready. You will need pads or paper towels to help stop the bleeding.
  • Prepare a bucket just in case the mother feels nauseous or wants to throw up. You also need to prepare a glass of water for him. Giving birth will be very draining.
Deliver a Baby Step 6
Deliver a Baby Step 6

Step 6. Help the mother to calm down

He may feel panicked, rushed, or embarrassed. Try to keep yourself calm and reassuring that he relaxes too.

  • Ask the mother to undress from the waist down. Give him a clean cloth or towel to cover the exposed body part, if he wants.
  • Help and encourage him to regulate his breathing. Avoid hyperventilation (breathing very fast) by talking to him in a soft, soothing voice and directing him to breathe slowly. Encourage him to inhale through his nose and out through his mouth rhythmically and regularly. If you're still having trouble, hold her hand and slow and slow your breathing together with her.
  • Be strong and believe in yourself. This may not be the birth that a mother-to-be dreams of, and she may be concerned about complications. Reassure him that help will come soon, and that you will do your best while you wait. Tell him that thousands of years ago many women gave birth on their own without the help of a hospital, and that she would be able to go through labor safely.
  • Acknowledge his feelings. The mother may feel scared, angry, dizzy, or a combination of these. Admit whatever he feels. Don't try to justify or argue with it.
Deliver a Baby Step 7
Deliver a Baby Step 7

Step 7. Help the mother to get into a comfortable position

She may choose to walk or squat during labor, especially when contractions strike. As she transitions to the second stage, she will choose a delivery position or alternate between different positions. Changing positions can help speed up the progress of labor, but let her decide what position works best for her. Here are the four standard positions along with an explanation of the benefits and drawbacks of each:

  • Squat: This position utilizes gravity to the mother's advantage, and can open the birth canal by 20-30% than other positions. If you suspect your baby is in a breech position (feet comes first), suggest this position as it can give your baby room to turn. You can help your mother in this position by kneeling behind her and supporting her back.
  • Crawling: This position also makes use of gravity and can relieve back pain, and is an instinctive choice of mothers. This position can relieve pain if the mother has hemorrhoids. Position yourself behind him if this is what you choose.
  • Lying on your side: This position causes the baby to descend the birth canal more slowly, but stretches the perineum more slowly and reduces tearing. Ask the mother to lie on her side, with her knees bent, then lift the leg that is above. He may need to support himself with his elbows.
  • Lithotomy position (lying supine): This is the most commonly used position in the hospital, lying on your back with your legs bent. This position allows maximum access for the person assisting the delivery, but places a lot of pressure on the mother's back and is not considered ideal. This position can also make contractions slower and more painful. If he seems to like this position, try putting some pillows under his back to ease the pain

Part 2 of 5: Delivering a Baby

Deliver a Baby Step 8
Deliver a Baby Step 8

Step 1. Guide the mother to push

Don't make the mother push until she feels unbearable pressure to do so; there is no need to waste mother's energy and trigger premature exhaustion. When the mother is really ready to push, she will feel increasing pressure near the lower back, perineum, or rectum. It even feels almost the same as wanting to defecate. When he is ready, then you can guide him to push.

  • Ask the mother to bend forward and lower the chin. This arched position will help the baby pass through the pelvis. When pushing, you should hold your knees or feet with your hands and pull them back, this will help.
  • The area around the vagina will bulge outward, until you see the top of the baby's head (the crown). After the baby's crown is visible, it's time for the mother to push hard.
  • Encourage him to push the abdominal muscles down, such as when trying to pass urine more quickly or have a bowel movement. This helps the mother not to push or push up against the neck and face.
  • The appropriate push per contraction is three to four times for 6-8 seconds at a time. However, the mother should be allowed to do whatever feels natural to her.
  • Continue to guide the mother to regulate deep and slow breathing. Pain can be controlled to varying degrees through mental relaxation and by concentrating on deep breathing, not panicking or being distracted by everything that is happening. Individuals have varying degrees of mental control, but deep, slow breathing is always beneficial during labour.
  • Be aware that the mother may urinate or defecate during labour. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Don't mention it either; You don't need to embarrass the mother at this stage.
Deliver a Baby Step 9
Deliver a Baby Step 9

Step 2. Hold baby's head as he comes out

This step is not complicated, but very important. Pay close attention to the suggestions below:

  • Do not pull on the baby's head or the umbilical cord. It can cause nerve damage.
  • If the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, this is a common condition, so lift the baby's head slowly or carefully remove the umbilical cord so that the baby is free from the coil. Do not pull the umbilical cord.
  • If the baby comes out of the womb in a prone position, this is natural, and actually even desirable. If the baby's face is facing the mother's back, don't worry. This is actually the best position for labor.
  • If you see the legs or buttocks showing up first and not the head, it means a breech birth. See the instructions below for situations like this.
Deliver a Baby Step 10
Deliver a Baby Step 10

Step 3. Prepare to wait for the baby's body to come out

When the baby's head turns to one side (which may happen on its own), be prepared to pick up the body that will come out with the next push.

  • If the baby's head does not turn to one side, ask the mother to push again. Chances are the baby will spin spontaneously.
  • If baby's head doesn't turn on its own, help turn it gently to one side. This action will help the shoulder emerge with the next push. Don't be forced if you feel resistance.
  • Take out the other shoulder. Lift the baby's body toward the mother's stomach to help the other shoulder out. The rest of the body will follow quickly.
  • Support the baby's head constantly. The baby's body will feel slippery. Make sure you continue to support the baby's neck, as he is not strong enough to support his own head.
Deliver a Baby Step 11
Deliver a Baby Step 11

Step 4. Manage complications

We hope that the delivery process went smoothly and that you have succeeded in helping the birth of a healthy baby. However, if labor stops, here's what you can do:

  • If the head is out, but the rest of the body doesn't come out after three pushes, ask the mother to lie on her back. Instruct him to grab his knees and pull his thighs toward his stomach and chest. This is called the McRoberts position, and is very effective at helping to push the baby out. Tell him to push hard when contractions occur.
  • Never push on the mother's stomach to help remove a stuck baby.
  • If the foot comes out first, read the section on breech births below.
  • If the baby is still stuck and emergency help has not arrived, you should try to guide the baby's head down toward the mother's rectum. This should only be attempted as a last resort, and should not be done at all if immediate medical help arrives.
Deliver a Baby Step 12
Deliver a Baby Step 12

Step 5. Hold the baby in such a way that the liquid from the mouth and nose can come out

Hold the baby with two hands, one hand supporting the neck and head. Tilt the head down about 45 degrees to drain the liquid. Feet should be slightly above head (but don't support baby by holding feet).

You can also wipe mucus or amniotic fluid from your baby's nose and mouth with a clean, sterile cloth or gauze

Deliver a Baby Step 13
Deliver a Baby Step 13

Step 6. Place the baby on the mother's chest

Make sure there is skin-to-skin contact, then cover both with a clean towel or blanket. Skin-to-skin contact encourages the production of a hormone called oxytocin, which helps the mother expel the placenta.

Position the baby so that the head is still slightly lower than the rest of the body, so that the fluid can continue to drain. If the mother lies down and the baby's head is on her shoulders and the baby's body is on her breast, the draining of the fluid will occur naturally

Treat a Baby's Cough Step 3
Treat a Baby's Cough Step 3

Step 7. Make sure the baby is breathing

Babies should cry a little. If not, you can take some steps to clear the airway.

  • Rub the baby's body. Physical touch will help the baby to breathe. Rub the top of her back quite firmly while it's still covered and on top of mommy's chest. If this doesn't help, turn the baby so that it faces the ceiling, tilt his head back to straighten the airway, and continue to rub his body. The baby may not cry, but this ensures that the baby gets the air it needs.
  • Scrubbing the baby vigorously with a clean towel can also help encourage the baby to breathe.
  • Remove the liquid manually. If your baby is gasping for air or turning blue, remove the fluid from his mouth and nose with a clean blanket or cloth. If that doesn't work, squeeze the rubber ball on the bulb syringe to remove the air inside, insert the tip into the baby's nose or mouth, then release the rubber ball to suck the liquid into the rubber ball. Repeat until all of the liquid is completely clean, and drain the liquid from the suction cup after each use. If you don't have a rubber ball suction device, you can use a straw.
  • If all of these techniques don't work, try flicking the soles of your baby's feet with your fingers, or slapping their bottoms. But don't get hit.
  • If nothing else helps, perform infant-only CPR.

Part 3 of 5: Assisting Breech Birth

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Deliver a Baby Step 15

Step 1. Know that a breech birth is possible

The breech position is an abnormal condition that can occur during childbirth, when the baby's legs or buttocks come out of the pelvis before the head.

Deliver a Baby Step 16
Deliver a Baby Step 16

Step 2. Position the mother

Ask the mother to sit on the edge of the bed or other surface with her feet to her chest. As a precaution, place a pillow or blanket under it in case the baby falls.

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Deliver a Baby Step 17

Step 3. Don't Touch the baby until the head pops out. You'll notice the back and buttocks hanging and there may be an urge to catch it, but don't do it. You should not touch the baby until his head pops out because touching can cause the baby to gasp while the head is still submerged in the amniotic fluid.

Try to keep the room warm, as a drop in temperature can also cause your baby to gasp for air

Deliver a Baby Step 18
Deliver a Baby Step 18

Step 4. Catch the baby

Once the head is out, lift the baby under his arms and bring him to the mother. If the head does not come out when the mother pushes hard after the baby's arms come out, ask the mother to squat down and push.

Part 4 of 5: Removing the Placenta

Deliver a Baby Step 19
Deliver a Baby Step 19

Step 1. Be prepared to wait for the placenta to come out

Removing the placenta is the third stage in labour. The placenta will come out between a few minutes to an hour after the baby is born. You may feel the urge to push after a few minutes, this will help.

  • Place the bowl near the vagina. Just before the placenta comes out, blood will come out of the vagina and the umbilical cord will get longer.
  • Ask the mother to sit down and push the placenta into the bowl.
  • Rub the mother's belly at the bottom of her navel vigorously to slow the bleeding. Maybe this action will hurt him, but it needs to be done. Keep rubbing until the uterus feels the size of a grapefruit in the lower abdomen.
Deliver a Baby Step 20
Deliver a Baby Step 20

Step 2. Let the baby suckle

If the umbilical cord is not stretched too tightly, ask the mother to breastfeed as soon as possible. This will help promote contractions and speed up expulsion of the placenta. Breastfeeding can also slow bleeding.

If breastfeeding is difficult, stimulating the nipples can also help speed up the expulsion of the placenta

Deliver a Baby Step 21
Deliver a Baby Step 21

Step 3. Do not pull the umbilical cord

When the placenta is expelled, do not pull on the umbilical cord to hasten its expulsion. Let the placenta come out on its own when the mother pushes. Pulling the umbilical cord will cause severe damage.

Deliver a Baby Step 22
Deliver a Baby Step 22

Step 4. Place the placenta in the pouch

Once the placenta is expelled, place it in a garbage bag or container with a lid. When the mother visits the hospital, the doctor may need to examine the placenta for abnormalities.

Deliver a Baby Step 23
Deliver a Baby Step 23

Step 5. Decide whether or not to cut the umbilical cord

You only need to cut the umbilical cord if professional medical help is still hours away. If not, leave it alone and make sure it doesn't get pulled tight.

  • If you have to cut the umbilical cord, first feel for a pulse. After about ten minutes, the umbilical cord will stop beating because the placenta has separated. Don't cut it before.
  • Don't worry about pain. There are no nerve endings in the umbilical cord; neither mother nor baby will feel pain when the umbilical cord is cut. However, the umbilical cord will feel very slippery and difficult to hold.
  • Tie yarn or lace around the umbilical cord, approximately 7.5 cm from the baby's belly button. Tie tightly with a double knot.
  • Tie another rope about 5 cm from the first, again in a double knot.
  • Use a sterile knife or scissors (boiled for 20 minutes or wiped with rubbing alcohol), and cut between the two ropes. Don't be surprised if the umbilical cord is rubbery and difficult to cut; do it slowly.
  • Cover the baby back after the umbilical cord is cut.

Part 5 of 5: Caring for Mother and Baby After Delivery

Deliver a Baby Step 24
Deliver a Baby Step 24

Step 1. Make sure mother and baby are warm and comfortable

Cover the mother and baby, and ask the mother to hold the baby to her chest. Change wet or soiled sheets, then move them to a clean, dry area.

  • Relieve pain. Place an ice pack on the mother's vagina for 24 hours after delivery to relieve aches and pains. Give acetaminophen/paracetamol or ibuprofen if the mother is not allergic.
  • Provide light food and drinks for the mother. Avoid carbonated drinks and fatty or sugary foods, as they can cause nausea. Good choices are toast, biscuits, or sandwiches. You may want to hydrate your body with a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
  • Put diapers on the baby. Make sure the diaper is placed below the navel. If the umbilical cord smells a little bad (a sign of infection) clean it with rubbing alcohol until it doesn't smell anymore. If you have a small hat, put it on your baby's head so he doesn't get cold.
Eliminate Postpartum Hemorrhage Step 3
Eliminate Postpartum Hemorrhage Step 3

Step 2. Massage the uterus through the abdomen

Sometimes, sudden labor can cause bleeding from the veins (haemorrhage) after delivery. It occurs in almost 18% of all deliveries. To prevent this, you can massage the uterus vigorously. If you notice significant blood flow after the placenta is expelled, do the following:

  • Insert one hand (clean) into the vagina. Place one hand on mother's belly. Push the mother's belly downward at the same time as you are pressing the uterus from the inside with the other hand.
  • You can also make strong, repeated squeezing movements with one hand on your lower abdomen without inserting one hand into your vagina.
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Deliver a Baby Step 25

Step 3. Prevent infection when going to the bathroom

Instruct and if needed, help the mother pour warm water into her vagina every time she urinates to keep the area clean. You can use a clean squeeze bottle to do this.

  • If the mother has to defecate, ask her to press a clean pad or washcloth against her vagina when she pushes.
  • Help the mother when urinating. Emptying the bladder can be very beneficial for the mother, but because there is a lot of blood coming out it may be better if she urinates in a container or cloth placed under it so she doesn't have to stand up.
Deliver a Baby Step 26
Deliver a Baby Step 26

Step 4. Get medical help as soon as possible

After labor is over, continue treatment to the nearest hospital or wait for the ambulance to arrive


  • Don't be afraid if your baby looks a little bluish at birth, or if he doesn't cry right away. The baby's skin will resemble its mother's once she starts crying, but the hands and feet may still be bluish in color. Swap the wet towel for a dry one, then put the hat on the baby's head.
  • If you don't have the things you need, use a shirt or towel to warm mom and baby.
  • As a prospective father or mother who is expecting a baby, be prepared to face labor if you are making travel plans or doing an activity close to the due date. Also, don't forget to bring emergency supplies, such as soap, sterile gauze, sterile scissors, clean sheets, etc. in the car (see the Things You'll Need section below).
  • To sterilize the umbilical cord clipper, clean it with rubbing alcohol or completely heat it.
  • If the mother is in labor, do not let her go to the toilet to have a bowel movement. He may feel the urge to have a bowel movement, but this feeling is likely due to the baby shifting and pressing against the rectum. This drive normally occurs as the baby moves through the birth canal just before birth.


  • Do not clean mother or baby with antiseptic or antibacterial products unless soap and water are not readily available and in case of external injury.
  • The instructions above are not intended to be a substitute for a trained medical professional, nor are they a guide to carrying out planned births at home.
  • Make sure you, the mother, and the delivery area are clean and sterile. The risk of infection is quite high for both mother and baby. Do not sneeze or cough around the delivery area.

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