Like a scene out of the movies, a woman delivered a baby in a taxi right outside Nation Centre in Nairobi County on Tuesday evening.
The event was dramatic: curious passersby crowded to catch a glimpse of the birth as good Samaritans, mainly women, rushed to help the woman.
They used shawls to cover the car’s windows in order to protect her modesty.
Personnel from Meridian Medical Centre, located at Nation Centre, were called to help the woman.
The story likely received traction because of the place of birth, which also presented the woman with help from several quarters.
But what would you do if a pregnant woman went into labour at your workplace, in the matatu or on the streets?
- You need to stay calm. Try to relax and ready yourself physically and mentally for the task ahead.
- Call for help. If in a matatu or any other vehicle try to find the police on the side of the road or the nearest hospital or medical facility.
- If no medical assistance is at hand, gather equipment to help with the delivery. You will need clean sheets or shawls, hand sanitizer or warm water, soap, sterile gloves (if available), clean scissors and blankets for receiving the baby.
- Get the mother into position. Spread the shawls and let her lie on them. You can pile up clothes such as sweaters to create a pillow for her. According to Robyn Horsager-Boerher, a gynaecologist and obstetrician, standing or squatting could result in the baby falling and suffering serious injury.
- Encourage the woman to relax and breathe through the contractions and not to push until she tells you that she can no longer resist the urge.
- Clean your hands up to your elbows with the sanitiser or warm water. With the mother’s permission, check the progress of the birth, all the while remembering to cover her for privacy. Decide the next step to take depending on what you see when you examine the mother.
- If you see the head, that means that the baby is crowning and that the mother needs to push. Use your hands to gently guide the head out. Do not pull the baby or umbilical cord.
- After the head come the shoulders. Be ready to catch the child as he or she will slip out once the shoulders are out Be careful not to drop the bay as they are quite slippery and wet. Stimulate the baby to cry by tapping its feet or gently rubbing its back with a dry cloth. Also, run your fingers along either side of its nose to ease away mucus in order to help the baby breathe.
- Dry the baby and place it on the mother’s bare chest for warmth and breastfeeding.
- Dr Horsager- Boerher advises tying the umbilical cord with two clean pieces of string, shoe laces or strips of cloth. Tie the first section about five inches from the baby’s belly button and the second about three inches above the first. With clean scissors, cut the cord in between the two ties.
- Placing the baby on the mother’s breast stimulates her body to eject the placenta. Do not pull it out; let it come out on its own. When it does come out, preserve it as the doctor will want to examine it.
- Quickly rush the mother and child to hospital. Even if the labour and delivery were successful, both the mother and baby will still require medical assistance for full recovery.