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Preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care

Care during childbirth

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.
Mother with her newborn baby in a materity room.

WHO recommendation on postnatal discharge following uncomplicated vaginal birth

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

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

Care during labour - 1st stage

Pregnant woman standing against a wall in a maternity ward

WHO recommendation on maternal mobility and position during labour

A midwife listens to the heartbeat of an unborn baby using a Pinard horn.

WHO recommendation on intermittent fetal heart rate auscultation during labour

Close up of epidural analgesia.

WHO recommendation on epidural analgesia for pain relief during labour

Babies with specific conditions during labour

Pregnant woman drinking water while lying in a hospital bed.

Antibiotics for meconium-stained amniotic fluid in labour for preventing maternal and neonatal infections

Mother sitting in hospital bed, watching new born baby. India

Amnioinfusion for meconium-stained liquor in labour

Abnormal presentations and positions of the baby

External cephalic version

Interventions for helping to turn term breech babies to head first presentation when using external cephalic version

Care during labour - 2nd stage

Woman in labour assisted by two health workers.

WHO recommendation on definition and duration of the second stage of labour

Husband talks to his wife as she sits in a birthing pool during labour.

WHO recommendation on birth position (for women without epidural analgesia)

WHO recommendation on birth position (for women with epidural analgesia)

Perineal trauma

WHO recommendation on techniques for preventing perineal trauma during labour

A surgeon from Mozambique performs a repair for the surgical treatment of obstetric fistula.

Methods of repair for obstetric anal sphincter injury

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

Antibiotic prophylaxis for third- and fourth-degree perineal tear during vaginal birth

Caesarean section

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

WHO recommendation on the optimal mode of birth for women in refractory preterm labour

Vial line up

Different classes of antibiotics given to women routinely for preventing infection at caesarean section

Care during labour - 3rd stage

Illustration of uterine massage

WHO recommendation on uterine massage for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage

Close-up of a syringe

WHO recommendation on prophylactic uterotonics for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage

Image showing cord clamping

WHO recommendation on delayed umbilical cord clamping