13.6.3  Complication readiness and emergency planning

As noted earlier, complication readiness is the process of anticipating the actions needed in case of an emergency and making an emergency plan (Box 13.5). Pregnancy-related disorders such as high blood pressure and bleeding can begin any time between visits for antenatal check-ups, and any other illness may occur during the pregnancy. If such conditions are suspected at any stage, you should refer the woman immediately, and repeatedly counsel her to report to you or seek medical care quickly if danger symptoms are seen.

Box 13.5  In an emergency

Make sure the woman and her husband and other family members know where to seek help.

Two family members escort the woman in labour to a truck in order to take her quickly to a health facility.
  • Alert them to plan for transportation with vehicle owners.
  • Advise them to save money for transportation, drugs and other treatments.
  • Decide who will accompany her to the health facility.
  • Decide who will care for her family while she is away.
  • A pregnant woman may bleed massively (haemorrhage) during or after delivery and may need blood to be given to her. You should make sure that she or her husband identifies two healthy adult volunteers who agree to act as blood donors if she needs it. Reassure the potential blood donors that they will not be harmed by giving blood, and their general health will be assessed before donating.

An important aspect of emergency planning is to foresee possible sources of delay that could be overcome by good planning.

13.6.2  Birthing supplies the mother should prepare

13.6.4  Causes of delay in getting emergency help