Chapter 19: Advanced skills for pregnancy and birth
Catheters (a tube to help urine come out)
If a woman does not urinate — or urinate enough —
for several hours, her bladder may become
too full. A full bladder can stop the womb
from contracting well. This can slow or stop
a labor. After a birth, a full bladder can cause
a woman to bleed heavily.
There are many ways to help a woman urinate:
• Let her listen to the sound of running water.
• Ask her to squat.
When the bladder is
overfull, it may bulge from
the lower belly. Do not let
the bladder get this full!
• Ask her to sit in clean warm water and urinate into it.
• Have her pour clean warm water over her genitals.
If the woman has tried each method but none of them has worked, you may
need to use a catheter to let the urine out.
Catheter — a tube that lets To use a catheter, you slide a sterile tube
urine out of the bladder. through a woman’s urethra (the hole the
urine comes out of) into her bladder.
WAR NING! Use a catheter only when it is truly necessary,
when you have been trained to do so safely, and when you
have a sterile catheter. Putting anything in the bladder puts the
woman at risk of infection. It can also be very uncomfortable or
How to insert a catheter
1. Prepare your tools:
that is not
antibiotic cream or
(Do not use
lubricant out of
a tube that has
already been opened
— it is not sterile.)
You will also need a bowl or bucket and a good source of light.
If the catheter is in a sterile package, open the package, but do not touch the
catheter. Open a package of sterile lubricant, but do not touch the lubricant
or the catheter.
Squeeze some lubricant out onto the end of the catheter.
A Book for Midwives (2010)