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Preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care

This section includes RHL summaries of published systematic reviews on various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, including preconception care, management of miscarriage, antenatal care, medical problems in pregnancy, disorders that might affect the unborn baby, complications arising during pregnancy, the induction of labour, and the care of the mother and newborn during and immediately after childbirth.
Two health workers prepare a woman for delivery in a delivery room, Niger.

WHO recommendation on digital vaginal examination at intervals of four hours for routine assessment of active first stage of labour in low-risk women

Drawing showing manual removal of the placenta.

WHO recommendation on routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women undergoing manual removal of the placenta

WHO recommendation against routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women undergoing operative vaginal birth

Bottle of antibiotics

WHO recommendation on routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women with third- or fourth-degree perineal tear

WHO recommendation against routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women with episiotomy

Newborn baby who has just been delivered is handed to his mother by the hospital midwife.

WHO recommendation against routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women with uncomplicated vaginal birth

Preconception care

A female community health worker councils a group of women on good health practices, Nepal

WHO recommendation on interventions to promote awareness of human, sexual and reproductive rights and the right to access quality skilled care

Miscarriage

Injection vaccine closeup

Immunotherapy for recurrent miscarriage

Woman feeling lonely looking sun going down.

Follow-up for improving psychological well-being for women after a miscarriage

A young woman is aided by her mother and a nurse as she goes into early labour and miscarries her baby.

Expectant care versus surgical treatment for miscarriage

Antenatal care

WHO recommendation on interventions targeted at women for the reduction of unnecessary caesarean sections

WHO recommendation on antenatal care contact schedules

WHO recommendation on caffeine intake during pregnancy

Medical problems during pregnancy

WHO recommendation on antibiotics for asymptomatic bacteriuria

WHO recommendation on antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections

WHO recommendation on the method for diagnosing asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnancy

Disorders affecting the unborn baby

Pregnant woman getting ultrasound from doctor

Routine ultrasound in late pregnancy (after 24 weeks’ gestation)

A medical doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman in Rwanda.

Ultrasound for fetal assessment in early pregnancy

Close-up of an "obstetric tape" used to determine the size of the uterus and to monitor the development of the baby.

Symphysial fundal height (SFH) measurement in pregnancy for detecting abnormal fetal growth

Pregnancy complications

Photo of a catheter

WHO recommendation on duration of bladder catheterization after surgical repair of simple obstetric urinary fistula

Pregnant woman sweeping the floor

WHO recommendation on birth preparedness and complication readiness

Induction of labour

African pregnant woman waiting for doctor in a health center, Côte d Ivoire

WHO recommendation on induction of labour at gestational age less than 41 weeks.

Pregnant woman receiving intravenous oxytocin.

WHO recommendation on induction of labour for women beyond 41 weeks of gestation

Woman in labour stretching her back while seated on the edge of the bed.

Oral misoprostol for induction of labour

Care during childbirth

Woman giving birth

WHO recommendation on antibiotics for uncomplicated vaginal birth

illustration of episiotomy

WHO recommendation on routine antibiotic prophylaxis for episiotomy

Maternity room

WHO recommendation on routine postpartum maternal assessment

Postpartum care

Woman giving birth

WHO recommendation on antibiotics for uncomplicated vaginal birth

illustration of episiotomy

WHO recommendation on routine antibiotic prophylaxis for episiotomy

Maternity room

WHO recommendation on routine postpartum maternal assessment