246 chapter 11: Labor and birth
Bleeding before the baby is born
Go to the hospital right away. If you are bleeding bright red blood, it could mean
the placenta is separating from the womb wall or is covering the opening of the
womb. This is very dangerous.
Fever is usually a sign of infection. If your fever is not very strong, you may just need
fluids. Drink plenty of water, tea, or juice, and try to pass urine every few hours.
If your fever is very high and you have chills, go to a health
center or hospital. You need antibiotic medicines right away.
Too long labor
Go to a health center or hospital. When labor lasts longer
than 1 day and 1 night, or if you are pushing hard for more
than 2 hours, you may need medicines or an operation for the
baby to be born.
Green or brown waters
If it is still early labor, or if the mother has not started
pushing, it is best for this baby to be born in a hospital.
When the bag of waters breaks (see page 237), the water
should be clear or a little pink. Brown or green waters mean
the baby has probably passed stool inside the womb and
could be in trouble.
A woman in labor should
not see the sun rise twice.
—Proverb from Niger
If the mother is far along in her labor and the baby
is going to be born soon, have the mother push as hard as she can and get
the baby out quickly. As soon as the baby’s head is out, and before it takes its first
breath, ask the mother to stop pushing. Wipe the baby’s mouth and nose with a
finger wrapped in a clean cloth, or use a suction bulb to suck out the mucus. Once
the nose and mouth have been cleaned out, the mother can push the rest of the
baby’s body out.
Pre-eclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy)
Pre-eclampsia can lead to seizures and even death. If the mother has any of these
danger signs, go to a hospital right away:
• strong headache
• blurred or double vision
• overactive reflexes
• high blood pressure
• sudden, steady severe pain at the
top of the belly, just below the high
point between the ribs
• protein in the urine
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007