Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Birth before the arrival of a midwife

Posted on: May 25, 2009

It is obviously a scarey thought that your baby could be born before the midwife arrives; but it can *occasionally* happen.  It usually happens when a woman has had several babies before – first babies rarely come quickly.  But here are a few pointers and considerations *just* in case it should happen to you.

1.         Don’t panic!  If things are happening quickly the baby will usually be born easily.

2.         Call an ambulance (inform them what is happening).  If you have time also:

3.         Phone Labour Ward/your midwife to let them know what is happening.  They are also able to talk you through a birth should the need arise.

4.         Put a clean towel/item underneath the mother.

5.         Have a clean, dry towel ready to dry and wrap the baby.  (You make like to warm them on a radiator, or up your jumper).  Babies are born from a warm, wet environment into air and they can loose heat quickly.

6.         Where possible, help the mother to concentrate on not pushing, even if she is having strong urges by encouraging her to pant (like a dog) through the peak of the contraction, and is possible get her into an all-fours position with her bottom slightly raised.

7.         Wash your hands in case the baby is born.

8.         If the head is visible, encourage the mother to pant and not to push, she can also put her hands down to slow the birth of the head.

9.         Once born, the head may turn to one side or another, with the next contraction or as the baby is born try to support (or catch) the baby to prevent it falling to the floor.

10.       Ensure the baby has clear airways (if necessary wipe the mouth and nose with a clean handkerchief or towel), dry the baby and place directly onto the mother’s abdomen and cover carefully with several towels.  (Remember not to lift the baby too far as it will still be attached to the mother.)

11.       Do not cut the cord or try to deliver the placenta.  Receive it only if the mother has a desire to push it out within an hour of the birth, in this case wrap the placenta with the baby.  Still do not cut the cord.

12.       Try to encourage the mother to breastfeed.

13.       Keep baby warm.  If baby is slow to start breathing, dry it briskly, wipe mouth and nose free from mucus.


Don’t panic.  Most babies do wait until help arrives – if they don’t they usually are born easily on their own.

Don’t be tempted to cut or tie off the cord or deliver the placenta.

Most importantly keep the baby and mother warm until help arrives.

1 Response to "Birth before the arrival of a midwife"

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