Tricks of the Trade – Issue 134

Midwifery Today, Issue 134, Summer 2020.
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Tricks in the Time of Covid-19

Handy System for Cleanup

In the last few months, I have started carrying a couple of towels with me. The large beach towel is spread out under my birth bags when I arrive at a birth. It’s turned out to be a very handy system that I will continue—any items that are not on the birth tray return to this large landing spot between uses. It is super easy to do a good job wiping down and cleaning everything before restocking in bags. I carry a smaller towel around to use for prenatal home visits. It’s the last thing I roll up on the way out, is easy to wash, and I don’t have to carry anything from house to house on the bottom of my bag. If we’ve transported, I have always thrown a chux pad down under my bag at the hospital, but never have between homes. This method has made packing up at the end go a lot faster.
Beth Bailey Barbeau

Face Masks

For midwives who like to sew or know someone who does, making some extra face coverings and bringing them to a birth will help ensure that anyone who needs one has one. If you get some baby-themed fabric, it can even be a keepsake.
Cheryl K. Smith

Use a Photo

Having to wear a mask at a birth can be off-putting and fear-inducing in clients. Some doctors and nurses in hospitals have begun to put their photo on their nametag to personalize their encounters with patients. Midwives who do not wear a nametag can put a photo of themselves on their face mask or on their clothing—with the same effect.
Jan Tritten

Monitoring Third Stage

To help monitor third stage, put a dry pad under the mother right after birth and move the umbilical cord, if needed, to take the slack away from the introitus. You can see the separation process by the lengthening of the cord, and sometimes a trickle of blood.

Another way to watch unobtrusively is to put a piece of sterile gauze on the cord right at the introitus. It sticks to the umbilical cord and you will quickly see when the cord lengthens because the gauze will be several inches away from the vulva. You can’t do the gauze trick in a waterbirth, of course, but—depending upon the mother’s position—you still may have enough visibility to take out the slack.
Gail Hart

If your partner is unable to be at the birth with you, bring a soft t-shirt he or she has worn to wrap the baby in so it will recognize the scent.
Gail Hart

Quiet for Baby

Because birth spectators may get excited, they can also be very loud when the baby is born and drown out the baby’s first sounds. When the birth is close, take a moment to create a calm and quiet atmosphere. Say something like “the baby will be here in a minute. Let’s all be really quiet so mama and baby can hear each other.” You can also discuss it prenatally.
Gail Hart


Quote of the Quarter

Please do not believe the lie! The idea that labor can be initiated naturally or safely is just not true. If the baby was ready he would start labor. It is chemistry more than mechanics. Don’t trick the mother’s body into thinking baby is ready. Once you start messing with the chemistry of birth it is no longer physiological. Physiological birth is your goal and the safest birth possible.
Baba Hartley

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