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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

Assistant nurse prepares surgical instruments before a c-section surgery.

WHO recommendation on vaginal cleansing with povidone-iodine immediately before caesarean section

Nepal. In a health care facility, a pregnant woman sits in a bed.

WHO recommendation against routine perineal/pubic shaving prior to giving vaginal birth

Abdominal skin preparation before a caesarian section

WHO recommendation on choice of an antiseptic agent and its method of application for skin preparation prior to caesarean section

Medical practitioners perform a caesarean section

WHO recommendation on routine antibiotic prophylaxis for women undergoing elective or emergency caesarean section

Pregnant woman in labour lying on hospital bed.

WHO recommendation against routine vaginal cleansing with chlorhexidine during labour for the purpose of preventing infectious morbidities


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 antenatal care contact schedules

WHO recommendation on caffeine intake during pregnancy

WHO recommendation on multiple micronutrient supplementation 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 diagnosis of gestational diabetes 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

Induction of labour

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

Oral misoprostol for induction of labour

A health worker is measuring sugar level of a patient.

Induction of labour in women with gestational diabetes

Pregnant woman receiving intravenous oxytocin.

Methods of term labour induction for women with a previous cesarean section

Care during childbirth

WHO recommendation on respectful maternity care during labour and childbirth

Woman in labour

WHO recommendation on effective communication between maternity care providers and women in labour

Woman in hospital having a contraction while supported by her partner.

WHO recommendation on companionship during labour and childbirth

Postpartum care

Mother and her newborn, Uganda

WHO recommendation on tranexamic acid for the treatment of postpartum haemorrhage

WHO recommendation on the use of uterotonics for the treatment of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH)

Photo of intrauterine devices

Immediate postpartum insertion of intrauterine device for contraception