The 3 stages of labor 83
Care of the baby at birth
A healthy baby will start breathing, move its arms and legs, and
start crying right away. To care for the baby:
• Wipe its mouth and nose with a clean cloth. To help the
mucus drain, keep the baby’s head lower than its body. If
there is a lot of fluid or mucus, remove it with a suction bulb
(see page 86).
• Give the baby to the mother right away. Put a
clean cloth around both of them. Do this as soon
as possible so the baby stays warm.
• Put the baby to the mother’s breast
immediately. When the baby sucks, the mother’s
womb tightens and stops the bleeding. This will
also help the placenta come out more quickly.
• Tie and cut the cord only when it turns white and stops
pulsing. To prevent tetanus, a serious disease that kills many
babies, cut the cord close to the baby’s body.
To cut the cord:
1. When the cord stops pulsing, put 2 clean ties around it, using square knots.
Put one tie about 2 finger widths from the baby and put the other one
about 2 more finger widths farther from the baby.
The first loop of
a square knot...
...the second loop of
a square knot.
2. Cut the cord between
these 2 ties with a new
razor blade. If you
must use something
else to cut the cord,
make sure it has been
boiled for 20 minutes.
Tie the cord in
2 places before
cutting. The chance
of a baby getting
tetanus is greater
when the cord is cut
far from its body.
IMPORTANT To avoid tetanus and other infections, the cord and anything that touches
it must be very clean. Never put dirt or animal dung on the cord stump.
Care of the eyes
Gonorrhea can cause blindness.
Since many women do not know
they are infected, put 1%
tetracycline, erythromycin, or
chloramphenicol eye ointment
in each of the baby’s eyes
within an hour of birth.
Pull down the
lower lid to put
a little bit of
outside the eye
does no good.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012