Help the mother give birth
Use very warm cloths
Warm cloths around the vaginal opening help
bring blood to the skin, making it more soft and
1. Boil a pot of water for 20 minutes to
kill any germs. If possible, add a little
disinfectant (like iodine or betadine). If you
do not have a disinfectant, add a little salt
to the water. Let the water cool a little
before you use it. The water should be hot,
but not hot enough to burn the mother.
2. Dip a clean cloth in the water and
squeeze it out.
3. P ress the cloth gently on the mother’s
Slow the birth of the head
If the head is born slowly, the mother’s vagina has more time to stretch and may
be less likely to tear. To slow the birth of the head, help the mother stop pushing,
or give very small pushes, right before the baby’s head crowns.
To help the mother stop pushing
The need to push can be very strong, so it is not
always easy for the mother to stop. It is best to
warn the mother that you are going to ask her
to stop pushing before the baby crowns.
When you want the mother to stop pushing,
tell her to blow hard and fast. (It is difficult to
blow and push at the same time.) Or, if the baby’s
head is not coming out and the mother can
control her pushing, ask her to give very small
pushes in between contractions — and then stop
and blow during the contractions. This gives her
skin time to stretch. Each small push should move
the head no more than 1 centimeter farther out of
the mother. A centimeter is this long:
This mother should stop pushing.
The baby’s head is about to crown.
After the widest part of the head comes out, the rest of the head may come out
without any pushing at all.
A Book for Midwives (2010)