Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

When you first arrive

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HealthWiki > A Book for Midwives > Chapter 11: Opening: stage 1 of labor > When you first arrive


When you arrive at a birth ask the mother how she is feeling. Make sure the birth area is clean and arrange your supplies. All the tools for the birth, and anything that will cut the skin, should be sterilized.

Talk to the woman and her family to be sure they can still get to medical help in an emergency.

Wash your hands well for 3 minutes and ask anyone who may touch your tools, the mother’s genitals, or the baby to wash their hands in the same way.

Wash your hands and change your gloves after touching stool or anything else.
Note: Clean hands do not stay clean for long. If you touch anything other than the mother’s genitals, you must wash again.


The mother should bathe too. If possible, she should wash her genitals, hands, and body at the beginning of labor.

Talk to the woman and her family about what may happen during labor, and answer any questions they have. Choose a family member who can help in an emergency, and explain to that person what kind of help you might need.


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