Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
2. If you do not have a helper but you have a watch with
a second hand, or a homemade timer, try timing each
heartbeat separately. If the heartbeats are not the same,
you may be hearing 2 different babies.
If you think there might be twins, even if you can find only one heartbeat, get
medical help. At a medical center or hospital, someone can use a sonogram (see
page 434) to see if there are twins.
Because twin births are often more difficult or dangerous than single births,
they are safer in a medical center. Since twins are more likely to be born early, the
mother should try to have transportation ready at all times after the 6th month.
If the medical center is far away, the mother may wish to move closer in the last
months of pregnancy. Be sure to have a plan for how to get help in an emergency
(see page 106).
If the babies must be born at home, 2 very skilled midwives should attend the
birth. Watch for labor starting too soon. See page 219 for more about twin births.
After the checkup
Make a time for the next prenatal visit
After you have finished checking the baby and the
mother, find out if the woman has any more
questions or needs to talk about anything else.
If she has any warning signs, carefully explain
what the warning sign is and what she must do
to care for herself. If she needs to get medical
help, be sure she knows where and when to go.
Before you leave her, make a time for her next
prenatal checkup. Make sure the mother knows
when and where the next checkup will be.
Keeping health records
A health record can show you quickly what health issues each woman has, how
things have changed for her, and remind you of any warning signs she has had.
On the next page, there is a chart you can use to keep a record of prenatal checkups
for each woman you help. Adapt this chart or make your own to meet the needs of
Many midwives also make a “lifetime health record” on a folded card the
woman keeps at home or brings to appointments. It is a quick way to keep a
short record of her general health issues, details about pregnancies and births,
vaccinations, pelvic exams, family planning methods, health education, or other
details you may need.
A Book for Midwives (2010)