3.2.7 Maternal condition
Count the woman’s pulse rate every 30 minutes and measure her blood pressure and temperature every four hours, as you learned how to do in Study Session 9 of the Antenatal Care Module. Additionally, document on your labour monitoring chart how often the mother eats, drinks and urinates.
Blood pressure goes down
If the woman’s blood pressure suddenly drops, she needs to go to the hospital immediately!
If her diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) suddenly drops 15 points or more, this is a dangerous warning sign. This usually means that the mother is bleeding heavily. If you do not see any bleeding from her vagina, her placenta may have detached and she might have bleeding inside (intrapartum haemorrhage).
Blood pressure goes up
Blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher is a warning sign. The woman may have pre-eclampsia, which can cause convulsions (eclampsia), detached placenta, bleeding in the brain, or a severe haemorrhage. The baby may die and the mother may die as well. You learned all about eclampsia and pre-eclampsia in Study Session 19 of the Antenatal Care Module, Part 2. Blood pressure and all the other measurements outlined above are recorded on the partograph, as you will learn in the next study session.
Next we turn to the equipment you will need to prepare for the delivery.