How to Catch a Baby


What do you do if the baby may arrive before the midwife.​ Here are some practical steps to help if baby seems to be coming quickly. If you are alone, the most important thing you can do is unlock your front door & call your midwife or call 911. If you are a client of a Midwife's Kaleidoscope you can reach us by calling 623-206-8531.

Whether you have an exceptionally fast labor and your midwife is on her way to you when baby starts to come or you find yourself about to have a 'car baby' on the way to the hospital or brth center, here are some simple steps, do's and dont's for an emergency birth. This is not meant to be a guide for a planned unassited chldbirth, which we do not recommend. If you desire an unassited birth with no care provider present, please prepare yourself with a LOT more homework than reading this blog post.

If you are not the person giving birth, but you are present when the baby starts to come, wash your hands and wait patiently. Don't panic! You will likely not have to do anything other than 'catch.'

1. Stay Calm. Most labors and births are normal and uncomplicated.

2. Page your midwife (aMK clients can call 623-206-8531). Enter your number and hang up; keep the phone nearby and answer it when your midwife calls back. If you cannot reach your midwfe, call 911.

3. Unlock the front door.

4. Gather lots of clean towels, blankets, or other cloth and have nearby.

5. Make sure room is warm and fans are off.

7. Get into whatever position feels most comfortable. You may want to place clean towels or other cloth underneath you.

8. As you feel/see baby's head begin to emerge, remember to breathe slowly or pant and gently let baby out. Aggressive pushing can cause tears.

9. Once baby's head is out, baby will turn and the body will follow on the next contraction. There may be a short pause while waiting for the next contraction. Do not try to pull baby out. Do not turn or rock her head.

10. When next contraction comes, push to get baby's body to come.

11. 'Catch' the baby as she emerges by gently supporting the body. Make sure you have a good grip on the base of the neck and a thigh, new babies are very slippery. Again, do not pull the baby out.

12. Place the baby on your bare chest, belly or lap - skin to skin - to keep baby warm. Cover baby with a dry towel or blanket.

13. Leave the umbilical cord alone, do not cut the cord and do not pull on it. The placenta will come. Pulling the cord can cause complications.

14. Keep the baby warm. Baby should be pink and have good muscle tone.

15. Observe baby's breathing and your bleeding.

If the baby is not breathing, or if baby is not pink with good muscle tone and it has been more than one minute since birth:

1. Stimulate baby by rubbing back, flicking feet, talking to her, and keeping her warm. Change out wet towel for dry one.

2. If baby does not respond to this by crying within a few seconds, call 911.

3. Begin mouth to mouth by giving gentle little puffs of air, one breath every second. The 911 operator will be able to talk you through this.

If you (or the person you are helping) begins to bleed heavily:

1. call 911.

2. If placenta has already come out, rub the uterus from the outside of the belly until it feels like a hard ball. If placenta has not come out and you feel strong enough, squat and push it out, then rub your belly.

3. Do nipple stimulation or get baby to latch and suck on nipples.

4. If the person you are helping begins to feel faint or loose conciousness, elevate the feet, keep warm and talking.