Whether you're an expectant father or an unsuspecting cabbie, the time may come when you are called upon to help deliver a baby with no medical professional or midwife in sight. Don't worry. People have to do this all the time; you'll do just fine. Birth is totally natural; most of what you need to do is help the mother relax and let her body do the work. That being said, the following instructions will help ensure that everything goes smoothly until help arrives.
Call for help if possible. That way, even if you have to deliver the baby yourself, help will arrive soon if you experience complications. The dispatcher should also be able to either talk you through the delivery or connect you to someone who can.
Determine how far along the labor is. The first stage of childbirth, where the body is getting ready to deliver by dilating the cervix, can take a long time, especially if this is the woman's first child. Time the contractions from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next.
If they're five minutes or more apart, there's probably time to get the mother to a hospital.
First time mothers are likely to give birth when contractions are three to five minutes apart and last 40 to 90 seconds, increasing in strength and frequency for at least an hour.
If they're two minutes or less apart, buckle down and get ready to deliver the baby, especially if the mother's had other children and they were fast labors! Also, if the mother feels like she's going to have a bowel movement, the baby is probably moving through the birth canal, creating pressure on the rectum, and is on its way out. 
Clean your hands and arms well with soap (preferably antibacterial) and water. If soap and water is not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizing product or rubbing alcohol. Whatever you can do, try to get your hands as clean as possible to prevent giving the mother or baby an infection. Wear sterile gloves if available.
Find and prepare a birthing area. Have the mother remove lower clothing. Let her do whatever feels comfortable - lie in bed, walk around, or sit in a chair - until she feels a very strong need to push. While waiting for the cervix to fully dilate, she might feel panicky and irrational. Use this time to make sure the area is as clean as possible. Have several clean towels, sheets, or blankets on hand. In a pinch, you can use newspapers.
Guide the mother in pushing. The area around the vagina will bulge out until you start to see the top of the baby's head (crowning) at which point you should encourage the mother to push the baby out gently (she'll want to push out hard) in a position that's comfortable for her (lying down on her back or squatting). Encourage the mother to push between contractions, not at their peak, to attempt to slow down the birth. Instruct her to blow through her mouth at the peak of each contraction to help her resist the urge to push.
Instruct the mother to take deep, slow breaths. Pain can be controlled to different extents through mental relaxation and by concentrating on deep breathing instead of panicking or being distracted by everything that is going on. Different people have different levels of mental control, but deep, slow breathing is always a benefit during childbirth.
Support the baby's head as it emerges. If the cord is wrapped around the neck, gently lift the cord over the baby's head or loosen it carefully so the baby can slip through the loop created by the cord. Make sure to never pull the head, as this can cause nerve damage. When the baby's head rotates to one side (it will do this on its own) be prepared for the body to come out with the next push. If this doesn't happen, gently guide the side of the baby's head towards the mother's back so that a shoulder emerges with the next push. Then lift the body gently towards the mother's stomach to deliver the other shoulder. The rest of the body should follow quickly, along with a lot of reddish water. The baby will be slippery! Keep supporting the head!
If the feet come out first, see the section on "Breech Birth" below.
Hold the delivered baby with two hands, keeping its head down (about 45 degree angle) to allow fluids to drain. Its feet should be above its head, but do not hold the baby by the feet.
If the head comes out and the rest of the body doesn't come out after she pushes three times, have the mother lie on her back, put two pillows under her bottom, instruct her to grab her knees at her chest, and have her push hard with each contraction.
Place the baby on the mother's chest and stomach area, ensuring full skin contact, and cover them both with towels or blankets. Lay the baby face down so fluids drain from the mouth. The skin-to-skin contact on the mother's stomach encourages further contractions to expel the placenta.
If the baby's not crying, rub its back firmly over the blanket. If that doesn't help, turn the baby so it's looking at the ceiling, tilt the head back to straighten the airway, and keep rubbing the body. It might not cry, but doing this ensures that the baby gets the air it needs.
If the baby gags or turns blue, wipe fluids out of the mouth and nose with a blanket or other clean cloth. If that doesn't do the trick, squeeze a bulb syringe, put the tip in the nose or mouth, and release to suck fluid into the bulb. Repeat until all the fluid is cleared, squeezing the bulb between uses to empty it. If you don't have a bulb, you can use a drinking straw; you can also try flicking the soles of its feet with your fingers, or slapping its bottom as a last resort. If none of this helps, perform CPR.
Prepare for the placenta. It will arrive anywhere between a few minutes to a half hour after the baby is delivered. Put a bowl close to the vagina. Right before it emerges, blood will come out of the vagina and the cord will get longer. Have the mother sit up and push the placenta into the bowl.
Rub the mother's stomach below her belly button firmly to help slow down the bleeding. It'll hurt her but it's necessary. Keep rubbing until the uterus feels like a large grapefruit in the lower belly.
Letting the baby breastfeed can help slow bleeding but is not necessary, especially if the cord would get pulled tight by doing so. Stimulating the nipples can also help if breastfeeding is not an option.
When the placenta is on its way, don't pull the cord. It can break. Let it come out on its own or aided by mom's expulsive efforts.
Cut the umbilical cord only if necessary. Generally, it's advised that you leave the umbilical cord alone, just making sure that it's not pulled tight, unless you're hours away from professional medical attention.
If you do need to cut the cord, here is the basic procedure: Feel it gently for a pulse; after about ten minutes, the pulse will stop, and you shouldn't cut the cord before it stops. Cutting the cord will not cause pain because there are no nerve endings in it, so take your time and be careful, as it's very slippery. Tie a lace around the cord tightly (use a double knot) about three inches from the baby (if the baby cries when you do this, it's because it's cold from being exposed, not because the cord hurts). Tie another lace tightly about two inches further away from the first lace and cut, using a knife or scissors that have been boiled in water for 20 minutes, between the two knots. Don't be surprised if it's rubbery and tough to cut. Cover the baby again.
Put the placenta in a trash bag. Double bag it and bring it to the hospital. If you can't make it there in four hours, put the placenta in a container with a lid and put it in the freezer.
Keep the mother and baby comfortable and clean. Put an ice pack on the mother's vagina for the first 24 hours to ease soreness and pain. Offer her Tylenol® or Advil® if she's not allergic. Instruct and if necessary help her pour warm water over the vagina every time she goes to the bathroom in order to keep it clean. Give her something light to eat (crackers and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and a drink. Put a diaper on the baby, making sure it's below the umbilical cord. If the cut cord smells bad (signaling an infection) clean it with alcohol until it doesn't smell anymore. Replace any wet bedding and keep mother and baby warm.
Get medical attention as quickly as possible. Once delivery is complete, proceed to the nearest hospital or await the ambulance you called. It is good for the mother to empty her bladder but due to blood loss it may be best to have her urinate in a pan or on a cloth you can move from under her so she does not have to get up.
Have the mother sit at the edge of a bed or other surface and pull her legs to her chest. As a precaution, put down pillows or blankets where the baby is likely to fall.
Do not touch the baby until the head comes out. You'll see its back and bottom hang down and you'll want to grab it, but don't. If the baby comes out feet first, you want to avoid touching the baby until the head is delivered because your touch could stimulate the baby to gasp while the head is still submerged in amniotic fluid.
Try to make sure the room is warm, as a drop in temperature could also cause the baby to gasp.
Once the head is delivered, grab the baby under the arms and bring it up to the mother. If the head doesn't come out in the push after the arms come out, have the mother squat and push.
Don't be alarmed if the baby's a little blue when it's born, or if it doesn't cry right away. The baby's complexion will resemble that of the mother once it starts to cry, but the hands and feet might still be blue. Just replace the wet towel with a dry one and put a hat on the baby's head.
If you don't have anything at hand, use shirts or towels to warm up the mother and baby.
To sterilize a tool for cutting the umbilical cord, wipe it with rubbing alcohol or heat it thoroughly.
As an expectant mother or father, be sure to consider the possibility of going into labor when you make travel plans or do activities near the due date. Also, be sure to carry emergency supplies, such as soap, sterile gauze, sterile scissors, clean sheets, etc., with you in your car. (See the Things You'll Need listed below.)
These instructions are not intended as a substitute for trained medical professionals, nor is it a guide for a planned home birth.
If the mother is in labor, do not allow her to try to go to the toilet for a bowel movement. She may feel as though she needs to do this, but this feeling is most likely caused by the baby shifting and putting pressure on her rectum. It is normal to feel this urge as the baby moves through the birth canal just prior to delivery.
Keep yourself, the mother, and the birthing area as clean and sterile as possible. The risk of infection is high for both mother and child. Do not sneeze or cough near the birthing area.
Do not clean the mother or baby with antiseptic or antibacterial products unless soap and water are not available and there is an external cut.