Guide to Birth: Pushing and Deliveringby Elizabeth MacDonald
The body changes after transition. There is a calmness and period of rest that happens naturally. It's as if the body truly knows how much energy was just spent getting to this point. It's the time to rest and breathe before meeting your baby.
2nd Stage of Labor: Pushing
Contractions: Spread out, pressure to push, the pain and intensity is gone.
You have done it. You have labored. Now it’s time to meet your baby. They key? Wait until your body pushes ON ITS OWN before you help baby out.
It doesn’t matter that the doctor says, “It’s time to push.” Pushing before your body is pushing is a huge waste of time. This is why most women push for hours.
After transition, the body will naturally give you a break. The contractions spread back out and become less intense. The waves become less of a painful tightening and more of a downward pressure. You’ll feel pressure on your rectum and think pushing will help, but wait.
Relax, sleep, and celebrate how far you have come. You will know when your body pushes. You can talk freely again and will be more alert and “with it.”
Once the body pushes, you may feel a burning sensation; this is the baby’s head passing through the cervix. You can push in any position that feels right. (Lying flat on your back is strongly discouraged, as it works against gravity.)
Do not be afraid to change positions during this stage. If your baby’s shoulders are “stuck” or heart rate is falling, change positions to help her out. By the end of 2nd stage labor, you are holding your baby!
3rd Stage of Labor: Placenta Delivery
You will be so high on after-birth hormones, that you probably won’t remember delivering your placenta.
And after just delivering a baby, it is pretty easy to push out this incredible organ. It is important though that your birth team makes sure the entire placenta has passed and not even a shred was left attached to the uterus.
(If you feel feverish, your milk does not come in, or you start to feel ill within a few days, call your OB immediately.)
Take a minute to look at the placenta. This organ GREW A BABY inside of you. It is incredible!
- Lying on your back works against gravity and causes contractions to last longer and be more intense.
- Squatting shortens the birth canal by 10%.
- Relaxation is the key to a successful birth.
- You are in charge of your birth; education and knowledge will give you the power to make informed decisions.
- Knowing how far dilated and effaced you are will do nothing but terrify or aggravate you. You can go from 1 to 6cm in 5 minutes and one contraction or if can take you three days to dilate 5cm. It means absolutely nothing. As long as you are contracting, your labor is progressing. Your body will naturally begin pushing once you are dilated enough. Every “check” increases risk of infection to you and baby.
- Let your body do its job, mama. You’ve got this.