intensely trivial

Quiz: Basics of birth and newborn care

This quiz is something I wrote for the introductory part of my midwifery studies. I hope to use this with doula clients in the near future and with midwife clients in the future. How would you do? The answers are at the bottom.

1. You will know you are in labor when:
A. your water breaks.
B. you have contractions 5 minutes apart for an hour.
C. contractions continue, getting longer, stronger, and closer together.
D. it’s different for every woman, but the result is always a baby being born.

2. In early labor you should:
A. use an enema.
B. nourish and hydrate yourself.
C. go for a walk to keep contractions going.
D. call your midwife.

3. Which of the following is most likely to cause an infection after your water has broken?
A. repeated vaginal exams
B. laboring in water
C. more than 12 hours elapsing after your water has broken
D. going for a walk outside

4. Which can be a result of not taking in calories during labor?
A. low energy
B. longer labor
C. emotional distress
D. all of the above

5. Which is unlikely to help alleviate back pain in labor?
A. a hands-and-knees position
B. counterpressure to your lower back
C. lying down
D. doing pelvic tilts

6. Which is probably not a sign that you are making progress by dilating?
A. fatigue
B. increasing bloody show
C. longer contractions with multiple peaks
D. grunting and bearing down involuntarily

7. Which of the following is/are true about pushing in a reclining position?
A. It can cause significant back pain.
B. It reduces the space between your sacrum and pubic bone, through which baby must pass.
C. Your uterus rests on a major blood vessel while you are in that position.
D. All of the above

8. Many women experience a lull in contractions for up to 20 minutes after they are fully dilated and before they feel an urge to push. What should you do during this time?
A. practice pushing so you know how when you get the urge to push
B. do nipple stimulation to keep contractions going
C. push as hard as possible to get the baby out sooner
D. rest and be thankful

9. Which is not a benefit of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby?
A. keeping baby warm enough or cool enough
B. speeding up the birth of the placenta
C. regulating baby’s blood sugar
D. stimulating oxytocin release in the mother

10. Which “plan” is most likely to ensure a good milk supply in the mother?
A. breastfeeding any time the baby makes feeding cues, as long as the baby wants to suckle
B. nursing 10 minutes on each side, every 3-4 hours
C. using a breast pump several times a day to measure output, and then bottlefeeding with the expressed milk
D. alternating nursing and formula-feeding so as to give mom’s nipples a rest

11. How should you care for your baby’s cord stump?
A. Leave it alone, and it will fall off naturally.
B. Gently wipe it with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.
C. Wash it with soap and water at each diaper change.
D. Swab with rubbing alcohol for 3 days. If it has not fallen off by then, call the pediatrician.

12. Which is not true about giving your baby a pacifier?
A. It may lead to nipple confusion if given in the first few weeks.
B. Sucking on a pacifier reduces the amount of stimulation your breasts receive, thus reducing your milk supply.
C. Babies who suck on pacifiers tend to have fewer ear infections.
D. Pacifier use can lead to thrush (oral yeast), which can be passed to the mom’s nipples.

13. Which is not a valid way of checking to see whether baby is getting enough milk after the first week?
A. Baby has regained birth weight by two weeks.
B. At least 5-6 sopping wet diapers per day
C. At least 3-4 poopy diapers per day
D. Offer her a bottle after breastfeeding. If she takes it, she is not getting enough at the breast.

14. Which is true about your milk coming in?
A. It occurs within an hour of baby’s birth.
B. Its timing depends on hormonal changes in your body 30-40 hours after birth.
C. Baby gets nothing from suckling until your milk comes in.
D. You should minimize engorgement by putting baby to the breast less so you produce less milk.

15. Lochia is
A. the cheesy, protective substance that may cover baby’s skin upon birth.
B. another name for amniotic fluid.
C. the normal postpartum flow of blood, similar to a menstrual period, that lasts for a few weeks after birth.
D. the yellowish fluid your baby drinks from your breasts before your milk comes in.

1 D. 2 B. 3 A. 4 D. 5 C. 6 A. 7 D. 8 D. 9 B. 10 A. 11 A. 12 C. 13 D. 14 B. 15 C.


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  1. * Terri says:

    I missed #9 bc I wasn’t sure if it was B or C. I guess I’ve been around you enough to get the rest. 😉

    Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
  2. * manhattandoula says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that you did so well!! 😉 (But I don’t know if I can take credit for it.) I know a mom who’s given birth already would probably do better than a pregnant first-timer, too. Actually, I was thinking about you on #14, b/c I have had some misconceptions about milk coming in that I probably said at some point. The answer on that one is based on a good source.

    Posted 7 years, 6 months ago
  3. * manhattandoula says:

    Oh, and ideally I’d include documentation for everything, but I haven’t done that bit yet. This is one of the rare assignments that doesn’t require that.

    Posted 7 years, 6 months ago

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