86 Pregnancy and Childbir th
A woman in labor
should not see the
sun rise twice.
—Proverb from Niger
➤ A woman who
is only a little warm
may just need to
drink more fluids.
If the mother has been in good strong labor for more than
12 hours, or she has been pushing for more than 2 hours without
any signs that the baby will be born soon, there may be a problem.
The baby may be in the wrong position.
What to do:
If her contractions are not coming every 2 or 3 minutes
and lasting for a full minute, she may not be in good labor yet.
Encourage her to sleep. If she cannot sleep, ask her to roll her
nipples and walk between contractions to help labor get stronger.
Encourage her to drink and eat light foods. Fruit juices or tea with
sugar can give her energy.
If the mother has been in labor for more than 12 hours, or has
been pushing for more than 1 hour, take her to a health center
or hospital. She may need medicines to help her labor or an
operation for the baby to be born.
Green or brown waters
Brown or green waters can mean that the baby is in trouble.
What to do:
If it is still early in labor or if the mother has not started pushing,
it is best for this baby to be born in a hospital.
If the mother is in Stage 2 of labor and the baby is going to
be born soon, have the mother push as hard as she can and get
the baby out quickly. As soon as the baby’s head is born, wipe its
mouth and nose with a clean cloth or use a suction bulb to suck
the mucus out. Keep the baby’s head lower than its body to
help the mucus come out. If the baby has difficulty breathing,
take it to a hospital.
Fever is usually a sign of infection.
What to do:
Touch the woman’s forehead with the back of one of your hands,
and touch your own forehead with your other hand. (See page 530 for
taking temperature with a thermometer if you have one.) If she feels
a little warmer than you, she may just need fluids. Give her plenty of
water, tea, juice, or soda pop. Remind her to pass urine every few hours.
If she feels very hot to touch and she has chills, take her to a
health center or hospital. She needs antibiotics right away. Give
ampicillin, 2 g by mouth every 6 hours, along with 80 mg of
gentamicin, IV or IM, every 8 hours, until you can get to a hospital.
If you cannot give gentamicin, then give metronidazole with the
ampicillin instead, 400 to 500 mg by mouth every 8 hours until you
can get to a hospital.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012