In the late stages of pregnancy most women are still out and about – ducking down to the shops and grabbing that last minute item for dinner or a forgotten baby essential. We asked Mary Dawes, Director of First Aid For You, for some tips for what to do if you find yourself in public and in the early stages of labour.
1. Keep someone informed
Once you’re very close to (or past) your due date, always tell someone where you’re going and a rough idea of how long you expect to be. “It may sound a bit ‘nanny state’ but put it this way, this is one time when you don’t want to have to explain to anyone how to get to where you are!” says Mary.
2. Be prepared
Have a change of clothes with you and keep some maternity pads in your handbag in case your water breaks. It might also be useful to keep a towel in the car.
3. Call your doctor
Ring your doctor or maternity ward as soon as possible. Tell them what’s happened, as they are the best people to give you directions on what to do next. You may have to simply go home, try to relax and wait for contractions to begin, or in some cases contractions may have already started before your waters break. Once you have your orders from your doctor, follow them directly.
4. Ask for help
Ask a shop assistant to tell you where the shopping concierge is. If you’re in a supermarket, head to the information desk. “All these people will have quick dial phone numbers to call for help, and if needed they can assist you to your car or the taxi rank,” adds Mary.
5. Store emergency contacts in your phone
Have an ‘ICE’ contact (In Case of Emergency) stored in your phone. Choose your emergency contact person and simply save their number under the contact name ‘ICE’. Should you need assistance from a passer-by, they’ll be able to dial this number to reach your husband or next of kin immediately.
6. Stay calm
“My final tip is certainly easier to say than do: try to remain calm. It’s not likely that when your waters break you’ll have a big gush, like many Hollywood movies portray, instead you may experience a slow leak. You’ll be grateful you packed the emergency pants in your bag or car for the trip home or to hospital,” finishes Mary.