Emergencies and First Aid - Childbirth


  • Towels, plastic sheet, and newspapers
  • Soft blanket for the baby
  • Gloves (ideally disposable surgical gloves), if available
  • Thick string, clean shoelace, or sterile tape to tie off umbilical cord
  • Plastic bag for placenta


  • Note the time of birth.
  • Congratulate the mother!


After delivery, hold the baby with his or her head slightly lower than the feet to drain fluid from the nose and throat. Do not hold the baby upside down or slap him or her. Gently dry off the baby and wrap him or her in a dry towel or blanket. The baby should start breathing and his or her color should improve as oxygen is breathed in. If the baby does not start breathing, place the baby on his or her back and gently rub the chest or tap the bottoms of the feet. If the baby still does not begin breathing, start mouth-to-mouth-and-nose resuscitation.


The umbilical cord will pulsate during the birth and afterward, indicating that the baby is still receiving blood from the mother. Do not cut the cord until it stops pulsating. After it has stopped pulsating, tie off the cord tightly with heavy string, a clean shoelace, or sterile tape about 4 inches from the baby; tie it again 2 to 4 inches from the first string. Cut between the two ties. Wrap the baby in a soft blanket and place him or her on the mother’s stomach.

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