13.6.1 Normal birth preparedness
Educate the mother and her family to recognise the normal signs of labour. Delivery may occur days or even weeks before or after the expected due date based on the date of the last normal menstrual period. Knowing what labour means will help the mother know what will happen, and this in turn helps her feel comfortable and assured during the last days or weeks of her pregnancy.
Provide clear instructions on what to do when labour starts (e.g. in the event of cramping abdominal pain or leaking of amniotic fluid). Make sure that someone will call you or another skilled attendant for the birth as soon as possible. Support your verbal advice with written instructions in the local language.
Birth preparedness should also cover:
- Honoring her choices. You should give all the necessary information about safe and clean delivery, but ultimately you should respect a woman’s choice of where she wants to give birth and who she wants to be with her.
- Helping her to identify sources of support for her and her family during the birth and the immediate postnatal period.
- Planning for any additional costs associated with the birth.
- Preparing supplies for her care and the care of her newborn baby.