5.1.1 Check the mother’s vital signs
You learned how to check vital signs in Study Session 9 of the Antenatal Care Module.
Check the mother’s vital signs, i.e. her temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure, and make sure they are within the normal range. Straight after the birth, check her pulse and blood pressure at least once every hour, and her temperature at least once in the first six hours.
What should the normal vital signs be if the mother is recovering well from the birth?
Her temperature should be close to 37oC; her pulse rate should be between 60 to 80 beats per minute when she is resting quietly; her systolic blood pressure (the top number, which measures the pressure when her heart contracts) should be 90-135 mmHg, while her diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number, which measures the pressure when her heart relaxes) should be 60 to 85 mmHg.
Refer a woman urgently who is showing signs of shock and/or postpartum haemorrhage.
If her blood pressure is too low and falling, and her pulse rate is too fast and rising, she is going into shock. The most likely cause is a life-threatening haemorrhage. If there are no signs of bleeding from the vagina, she may be losing blood internally.