Care for the mother during labor
Have the woman urinate at least once every 2 hours
If the mother’s bladder is full, her contractions may get weaker and her labor
longer. A full bladder can also cause pain, problems with pushing out the
placenta, and bleeding
Remind the mother to
urinate — she may not
Oh, oh, oh!
You have not
you try now?
To check if the bladder is full,
feel the mother’s lower belly. A full
bladder feels like a plastic bag full
of water. When the bladder is very full, you can see the shape of it under the
mother’s skin. Do not wait until the bladder gets this big.
This bladder is
If the mother’s bladder is full, she must
urinate. If she cannot walk, try putting a pan or
extra padding under her bottom and let her
urinate where she is. It may help her to dip a
hand in warm water.
If the mother cannot urinate at all, she needs to have a catheter (a sterile tube)
inserted into her bladder to let the urine out. See page 352 for more on how to
insert a catheter. If you have not been trained to insert a catheter, get medical help.
Rest between contractions
To save her strength, the mother should rest between contractions, even when
labor first begins. This means that when she is not having a contraction, she
should let her body relax, take deep breaths, and sometimes sit or lie down.
In early labor she may be able to sleep.
Many women feel very tired when their contractions are strong. They may fear
they will not have the strength to push the baby out. But feeling tired is the body’s
way of making the mother rest and relax. If everything is well, she will have the
strength to give birth when the time comes. For ways to help the mother relax, see
I have to sit up for the
contractions — or
they hurt too much.
I will hold your
head up so you
can sleep between
I’m so tired!
But every time I start to
fall asleep my head falls
forward and wakes me up!
A Book for Midwives (2010)