Chapter 19: Advanced skills for pregnancy and birth
Enemas (rectal fluids)
Enemas are used to:
• speed labor (enemas can make contractions stronger).
• wash stool out of the intestines (this may make labor less painful).
• hydrate a person who does not have enough fluids in her body.
• give medicines to a person who cannot swallow.
WARNING! The greatest danger of enemas is that a little stool
will wash out of the rectum and get into the vagina. This can
cause an infection after birth. To avoid causing infection,
keep everything that touches the mother’s anus, or any
stool, away from her vagina.
Also, be prepared for labor to become strong very quickly.
How to give an enema
1. Gather the tools you will need:
• a pair of clean plastic gloves
• a clean enema bag, or a container to
• a clean plastic tube to put into the rectum
• a clean hose to attach the enema bag to the
tube (60 centimeters, or 2 feet, is a good length)
• 500 milliliters (about a ≤ liter bottle or 2 cups)
of clean warm water.
2. Wash your hands and put on clean plastic gloves.
3. Ask the woman to lie on her left side.
4. Let water flow down into the end of the tube and then pinch the tube closed.
This lets the air out.
5. Wet the end of the tube
with water or lubricant
and then slide it into the
Do not put in more tube than this:
7 1/2 cm
rectum. Do not slide it
more than 7≤ centimeters (3 inches).
A Book for Midwives (2010)