5.2.1  Check the baby’s heart beat

The baby’s heartbeat is harder to hear in second stage because the heart is usually lower in the mother’s belly. If you are experienced, you may be able to hear the baby’s heart between contractions. You can hear it best very low in the mother’s belly, near the pubic bone (Figure 5.5). It is OK for the heartbeat to be as slow as 100 beats a minute during a pushing contraction. But it should come right back up to the normal rate as soon as the contraction is over.

  • What is the normal fetal heatbeat?

  • Between 120 and 160 beats per minute.

If the baby’s heartbeat does not come back up within 1 minute, or stays slower than 100 beats a minute for more than a few minutes, the baby may be in trouble. Ask the mother to change position (to lie on her side), and check the baby’s heartbeat again. If it is still slow, ask the mother to stop pushing for a few contractions. Make sure she takes deep, long breaths so that the baby will get adequate oxygen.

5.2  Help the mother and baby have a safe birth

5.2.2  Support the mother’s pushing