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pushing survey

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I am fascinated with pushing issues. I have started a few pushing surveys on other lists, and the results have been somewhat what I would have predicted, but also often surprising to me, not what I expected at all, making it all the more fascinating. I feel like I am learning a lot by just hearing what women's experiences have been, and how those experiences seem to have been shaped by their environments and belief systems, but not always.

Here are the questions I have been asking:

How long did you push?

How did you know when to start pushing?

Why did you start pushing when you did?

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?

Please add any other relevant comments. Also feel free to email me your answers if you'd rather.

Thank you!
post #2 of 51
These are really interesting questions. Here are my answers for my first birth (homebirth in a birthing tub).

How long did you push? about 20 minutes

How did you know when to start pushing? I think I had been putting it off for a while, not really sure if that's what I was feeling. I got my one and only cervical check and was complete and thought I'd give it a try.

Why did you start pushing when you did? Thought it might feel better to push than to avoid it any longer, which it did.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate) Not sure what you mean, I mean, no one was telling me to push or counting or anythig like that, but once I started pushing, I felt better, so I didn't want to stop, so in that way it was involuntary.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how? It only lasted 20 minutes, so I think it was pretty much the same the whole time.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how? Don't think so. I didn't realize I would feel BETTER if I pushed until I started.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing? do what feels right, I guess. I'm also a doula and the pushing "rah-rah" counting team thing makes me crazy, although I have seen one birth where it helped the mother quite a bit.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best? I was on my knees leaning up on the side of the tub. I hadn't planned on actually giving birth in the water, but I wasn't going anywhere. Immediately before pushing, I was in the water, completely submerged, except head and shoulders (brrrr), on hands and knees.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications? I would say it was fairly instinctive, no one was telling me what to do and there was no talking that I remember. No complications.
post #3 of 51
I like talking about pushing...

How long did you push?
For about an hour

How did you know when to start pushing?
After my midwife checked me for the first (and only) time and told me I was dialated she suggested I get into the tub. Once I was in the tub I just started feeling the need to push slightly with each contraction. At that point pushing felt pretty good.

Why did you start pushing when you did?
I just kind of felt the urge to. I tried it out, and it worked for me.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
It was kind of both. I felt like I wanted to push, and then when I did and it felt good, I pushed harder voluntarily with each contraction.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
My urge to push definitely got stronger, but I also just zoned out into the rhythm of labor,and stopped thinking about pushing at all.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
Not really. By the time I got really into pushing, I didn't have any space for preconceptions left.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
Push when you feel the urge. Rest when you don't. Above all, tune into yourself. Your body knows what to do.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
I started out on my knees leaning over the side of the birthing tub. At some point my midwife suggested I lean backwards, still on my knees with my partner supporting me. This actually worked better for me, because my partner moved with me, as I needed to move.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
My midwife made minimal suggestions. And each time she actually did make a suggestion it felt like a nice change. I didn't feel hindered or inhibited at all, other than when my partner was trying to feel the baby's position in the middle of a contraction, and I could tell his fingers were in the wrong place, and it really irritated me. As for complications, Zoe got stuck on her way out, and after her head came out I had to stand up while I pushed really hard, and my midwife helped her out. She was stuck for maybe a minute, or a little bit more, and she was given oxygen to start breathing, but her five or ten? minute apgar was nine.

So that is my novel on pushing... Honestly it was very hard work, but a very powerful time for me. I was pretty amazed that I pushed out a 9lb14oz baby.
post #4 of 51
"How long did you push?"
4 hours.

"How did you know when to start pushing?"
10 cm...they said I could!

"Why did you start pushing when you did?"
They said if I didn't, the baby would just creep farther and farther up.

"Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary?"
Involuntary.

"Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?"
I never felt the urge.

"Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?"
I went in with this idea that I was not going to push at all, but I wanted to get labor over with so I was willing to try it their way.

"What is your 'philosophy' of pushing?"
If it's time, the body will do it, no matter how many cms you are.

"What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?"
I tried using the bar to get into a squat, but it was ineffective because of its positioning, and I kept vomiting. So I ended up on my back.

"Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?"
No one said there were complications, other than my exhaustion. They didn't try to put any limits on me, but I asked for an assisted delivery and they were happy to oblige. They didn't suggest anything else I could do (except a cesarean). We had a doula, but she didn't suggest other positions or things I could do, except to push harder. I felt inhibited because I thought I was doing it all wrong. I was unprepared for the pain and it discouraged me.
post #5 of 51
Well, I'm an odd case, because I'm as they say "double jointed". I pushed to get the head out, once, and once the head was out I pushed once more to get the shoulders out. My pushing experience was like, 10 seconds, max.

The MW told me to stop pushing once the head was out, because she was coming out so fast, and the cord was around her neck.

Next time will be different. I plan to have the baby in water, and hopefully, will wait till the urge to push hits me, rather than feeling like, "I've got to get this baby out now!" Or not push at all, and let the baby be guided by the contractions.

I'll write more in a bit......
post #6 of 51
Cool questions!

How long did you push?
Probably less than five minutes- very fast.

How did you know when to start pushing?
I had absolutely no control over it. My body started doing it, and I had to go along with that sorce. It was unbelievable, and I couldn't have fought against it if I had tried.

Why did you start pushing when you did?
My contractions changed all at once, and I think it only took one contraction before I realized that my body was pushing and the only way to cope with that force was to go along with it.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
Very involuntary. It literally felt like I was riding along with the force that my body was producing.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
It went so quick that I really don't remember.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
I definitely didn't plan on having the baby in the car on the way to the hospital. :LOL I had so many neat, controlled ideas of what it would be like, (I wanted my dh supporting me for instance,) but it wasn't really any of those things. We did the best we could with what we had.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
I was in the front seat of our Dodge Caravan. DH says it was reclined, but I don't think that it was. I had my feet up on the dashboard and I dseperately wanted an "oh sh**" bar to grab on to, but the van didn't have one. I didn't really have time to think about what position would be best- it was just the position that I was in at the time. DH ended up literally catching our daughter a few inches from the floorboard because she came out so fast and he had bent own to get a towel to wrap her in.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
I think the only "complication" was that it was so fast and "uncontrolled." Because it was just me and my dh, I wasn't feeling inhibited or anything like that, in fact, I remember my dh telling me that he could see our daughter's head, and I thought "Well, this is it, I'm really oging to have this baby right here on the side of the freeway." I didn't regain any sense of modesty or inhibition until the paramedics were lifting me onto the stretcher and I realized that I was covered in blood and naked fromt he waist down! I do remember listening to the noise i was making and thinking that I was being really loud, just like my husband thought I would be, (he was always skeptical of the natural birth idea) but it wasn't in a self concious way. I don't think I would have controlled the noise coming out of me if I wanted to. In fact, I conciously tried at one point to keep my noise low and controlled like Ina Mae suggests, and it only lasted for a few seconds. The only other complication was that I tore basically from one end to the other- all the way up through my clit and urethra, beacuse she came out so fast. Didn't take any longer to heal from that the episiotomy I got with my first birth though.

Thanks for letting me relive these memories!
post #7 of 51

Re: pushing survey

How long did you push?

Both births: 1.5 hours

How did you know when to start pushing?

I never got the urge to push with either birth, my midwife really had to coach me to push

Why did you start pushing when you did?

see above

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)

voluntary, although I'm sure my body would have done it eventually. At least, I imagine it would have.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how? No, don't think so.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how? I don't think so. Although, I thought I would have an urge to push and that my body would just do it, but I really had to make an effort to push.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?

Do it when your body says it's time. Although in my case I let me midwife tell me as I was too out of it to do anything else.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best? Semi-sitting, leaning back against dh with knees up. No preconceived notions, just did what was most comfortable.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications? Guided by my midwife, but she followed my course for the most part.
post #8 of 51

Re: pushing survey

Here are the questions I have been asking:

How long did you push?
hour and a half

How did you know when to start pushing?
My contractions changed. They went from a pulling sensation to a pushing.

Why did you start pushing when you did?
It felt like the thing to do.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
I'll say voluntary. I never felt an overwhelming urge to push.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
Yes. I tried little pushes when I first noticed the contractions changing. As the pushing sensation got stronger, I pushed harder.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
Yes, I think I pushed for so long because I was waiting for the overwhelming urge to push that I had read about. If I had known it wasn't coming, I probably would have pushed harder sooner.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
Hmmm...I guess "Do what feels right".

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
I was in a birth tub and I moved between squating, hands-and-knees and crabbing it. I just moved where my body took me.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
I would characterize it as instinctive. However, my MW sensed when I was pushing effectively (I think by the sounds I was making) and encouraged me to push like that. I think the length of time I pushed could be viewed as a complication by some.
post #9 of 51
How long did you push?
Including pushing against a lip of cervix, I pushed for 24 minutes. After the lip was moved I pushed for about 14 minutes.

How did you know when to start pushing?
I was pushing on my own against the lip of cervix, (I had swelling during a long labor, the last lip was still a bit swollen) I started that pushing on my own, I didn't really realize I was pushing, but my MW recognized it.

Why did you start pushing when you did?
I don't know, I just was pushing. I kept thinking to myself, am I pushing? Am I dilated? But it was very gentle so I didn't really know if I was or not. I was just doing my thing, by myself, not really thinking about it or talking too much to anyone. (Except for the occasional "Oh sh*t, I can't do this" but that was just me saying what I needed to say, kwim?)

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
It was both. My initial pushing was involuntary, but after the lip of cervix was removed, dd's cord was being pinched and after a 72 hour labor, my MWs encouraged more "effective" pushing. I was a bit resentful at the time, but afterwards I learned her cord was on her shoulder and being compressed quite a bit. I didn't push and hold my breath and count to ten or anything, but they did ask me to really focus on pushing.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
When I first began gentle pushing, I was really not sure if I was pushing or not, but I could feel dd's body descend lower and after some time I pushed harder and harder and realized that not only was I pushing but it felt much better to be pushing than not. I didn't pay attention to ctx in those moments, I was pushing more during I think, but I as bearing down against the pain, something I hope not to do next time, just because of the feeling of doing anything "against" the pain

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
Things really went the way I believe is correct, I did what my body felt. I am glad though that my MWs did not tell me about the decels and the cord b/c it was a fear of mine since dd had been breech. That said, overall I believe encouraged and directed pushing is wrong unless the baby is presenting in a way that the mother simply isn't getting th eurge to push even though the baby and her body are as ready as they're going to get. Even then, eventually she'll want to get the baby out on her own. It's a slippery slope, yk? I try to be asresolute as I can be with a small window for exceptions so that when they arise I am not disappointed, but so that I am not apt to encourage or direct pushing myself, or partake in it. Hope that makes sense, I am tired!

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
I think I covered that on the last question.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
I was orignially in many positions in the water, crouching, all fours, sitting and pulling my legs back. I had to get out to move the lip of cervix and ended up on my back. When my MW asked me to move into a position to give birth, I didn't want to move so my other MW and my doula hyperflexed my legs. Overall, that is another position I hate b/c it is empowering to the HCP and disempowering to the birthing woman. I did choose it in a way though. I would never do it again, I will remember how much I hated it.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
I could feel my cervix starting to tear as I pushed against it. I looked up in terror at my MW and said, it's burning, I feelt it burning, it isn't right. She asked what was buring, and I siad high up in my vagina, it's burning!! That was her indication to move the cervix, all in all not as painful as I would have thought, but I had been tearing it already, so the pain is relative to that.

I hope that helps!
Lauren
post #10 of 51
How long did you push?

1 - just over an hour (pre-eclampsia induction at 37 weeks with mag sulfate and epidural)
2 - maybe 20-30 minutes? (unmedicated birth at 39 weeks)
3 - maybe 30-45 minutes? (unmedicated waterbirth at 39.5 weeks)
(see notes below on involuntary pushing!)

How did you know when to start pushing?

1 - I could feel the baby descending down the birth canal with each contraction, and felt like it meant I ought to push.
2 and 3 - my body started pushing and I couldn't stop it

Why did you start pushing when you did?

1 - when I told the nurse I could feel the baby moving down, everyone got me into the knees-up lithotomy position and coached me to push
2 and 3 - I couldn't stop my body from pushing

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)

1 - a bit of both, as my body was moving the baby down, but I was trying to push with the contractions
2 - both: all were completely involuntary, except at the point of crowning with I gave two quick voluntary pushes between contractions to push him out gently as my midwife was afraid he'd shoot out too forcefully with my body's pushes
3 - involuntary

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?

1 - no, although I got very frustrated as the drugs in my system made it difficult to figure out how I needed to do it, and the people around me were not helpful (although they were trying to be)
2 - at first I was terrified, particularly because my midwife said I was only at 6 cm and needed to stop my body's pushing, and I could not; after awhile I just gave in to it
3 - I knew what to expect from my previous birth and when the pushing started early I knew to just let it happen

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?

1 - I was terribly afraid that I must be doing it "wrong." Later I regretted having said anything about the pushing urge to the nurse because I realized that my body was doing well to push the baby out on its own without "help"
2 - my midwife tried to get me to "stop" the pushing as she was afraid my cervix wasn't ready. Apparently my body knew better than she did. It scared me that my body wasn't fitting HER preconception of what it ought to be doing.
3 - my preconception was that I should just let my body do its thing, and get out of its way (so to speak) to let it do that

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?

That you don't need to TRY to push at all, that your body will move the baby out without conscious effort, unless there is some clear emergency where the baby needs to come out immediately (rare but possible). I think it is perfectly normal for our bodies to take a rest, even a seemingly long one, before pushing...and also normal for some people's bodies to start involuntarily pushing forcefully even before fully dilated.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?

1 - flat on my back. I was on drugs that made it impossible for me to be anywhere but on my back or side in bed. I wish now that I had asked to stay on my side, but I was coached to roll over onto my back and hike my knees up into the air.
2 - first lying in a bathtub (because the tub was too shallow to allow upright position and I wanted to be in the water), and then standing upright hanging onto my DH's shoulders, and then the midwife asked me to get on the bed to birth my baby...I dove face-down onto the bed, had one push, then got on hands and knees and gave a tiny voluntary push and out he came. Her preconception was that we'd be safer on the bed as he was coming out quickly. I later learned that it would have been simple for someone to hold a towel underneath my upright body to "catch" the baby if her hands slipped, and I would have preferred this.
3 - I changed position frequently in the birth tub, squatting or on hands-and-knees for most of the pushing, but then more on my back in the water. I chose to be in this position because I wanted to be able to 'catch' my own baby, and I had heard that if you are on hands-and-knees the baby tends to shoot out behind you. At the last minute her shoulder got stuck and instinct told me to flip over on hands-and-knees (I believe this is called the Gaskin maneuver?) but instead I had my midwife use her finger to unhook the baby so I wouldn't have to flip over.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?

1 - my entire labor was managed by others. The only instinctive moment was when I realized the baby was moving down the birth canal on his own, and no one knew but me. I felt completely hindered and inhibited. I was induced at 37 weeks for partial placental abruption and pre-eclampsia.
2 - my second stage was instinctive, although I did feel inhibited by the fact that I was in the hospital and my my midwife's very slight distrust of the natural process. My son's hand was up against his face when he emerged. My placenta was considered "slow" in that it didn't come out until 29 minutes after the birth (30 minutes would have gotten me a pitocin injection)...I simply asked for help in getting into a squatting position, and with one push it fell out.
3 - completely instinctive, and I only felt inhibited by the fact that there was an assistant midwife present whom I had not met and did not feel intimately connected with. My daughter's shoulder got stuck on her way out and her head was out underwater for a few minutes, a few contractions, and then my midwife used her finger to unhook the shoulder. I imagine this might be considered shoulder dystocia but it certainly wasn't difficult to resolve.
post #11 of 51
How long did you push?

I pushed for 10 min with my dd (she was a 32 week preemie 3 lbs, 13 oz).

I pushed for 7 min with my ds (a 36 weeker 6lbs, 10 oz)


How did you know when to start pushing?

With dd, doctors told me to push, due to all of the drugs I had been given over the course of my 144 hour labor, I had no urge to push.

With ds, I didn't have any meds and my body told me to push. I couldn't have stopped it with any more effectivness than I could have stopped a speeding train. It was amazing.


Why did you start pushing when you did?

See above answer

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)

See above again

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?

I never had any urge with dd.

With ds, the urge did change, it became stronger and my body was doing more of the pushing than I was


Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?


With dd, yes, it was doctor influenced.

With ds, no, it was nature influenced...almost a magical thing.


What is your "philosophy" of pushing?

A woman's body should tell her when the proper time for pushing begins. A woman is her own caregiver and should be allowed to trust in her body and be allowed to make most decisions regarding her pregnancy and delivery ~ even when to push

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?

Both times, on my back, in a hosptial, according to "doctor's orders"

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?

My dd was a 32 weeker, my entire labor and delivery was a complication

My ds was the most incredible experience. My labor only lasted 4 hours from start to finish. I do feel that I was rushed into an AROM so that the doctor could get on with his day. That really annoyed me. Also, with both deliveries, I wasn't allowed to move or eat and I really wanted to do both. Homebirth will be my next option (If I can sustain a 37 week pregnancy)


Let me know if I can help further.
post #12 of 51
How long did you push? Two pushes, about 2 minutes.

How did you know when to start pushing? How could I NOT know!!!

Why did you start pushing when you did? I couldn't not.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate) Well, involuntary in the sense that my body took over and just DID it....

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how? Uhm...my experience was that I very suddenly had the urge to push after my daughter had been crowning a while and so I just did it. It happened too fast to worry about anything else.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how? Not at all. I really had no clue what I was getting into when I went into labor....

What is your "philosophy" of pushing? After my experience with my daugther, my philosophy is that my body will do it's job when the time is right and I'm not going to waste my energy pushing if the baby isn't totally ready.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best? I was sitting up, semi reclined in a birth table/bed that converted to a type of chair.....It was just what the hosptial gave me.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
My midwife TRIED to manage it a little...once I was 10 cm, she tried to get me to push and I said no. I feel that it was very instictive but it was stressfull because the nurses would come in a make snotty comments about how I wasn't being cooperative. I had no complications other than my dd had the cord wrapped around her neck so I had to stop in the middle of push one to let them take care of it.

post #13 of 51

Re: pushing survey

How long did you push?
1-a little over an hour
2-about 10 minutes

How did you know when to start pushing?
for both kids, the urge was strong

Why did you start pushing when you did?
for both kids, my body just took over

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
for both I would say involuntary

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
nope

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
for both-I don't think so. It really just came over me. And my birth attendants really just let me go.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
Listen to your body, let your body "lead" your mind.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
for both kids, I was semi-reclined, with dh and doula each holding up a leg and/or holding my knees myself. It seemed instinctive, and I never wanted to get up or move. also with both kids, I went through transition on the toilet.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
Again, I had a similar experience with both kids. I would characterize it as instinctive. I remember with ds, sitting on the toilet, and my mw asking me if I wanted to give birth on the toilet. when i said no, she said well we better move because you are getting very "pushy." I didn't really even realize that I was pushing at that point. No complications either time. I definitley didn't feel inhibited. With my dd and the longer pushing time, my mw did make some gentle suggestions, with ds, nobody said a word that I can recall. He came very quickly. Ds was born in the caul with his hand up next to his cheek.
post #14 of 51
How long did you push?

About 3 1/2 hours.

How did you know when to start pushing?

I had an unmedicated hospital birth, and the pushing contractions were overwhelming.

Why did you start pushing when you did?

The pushing contractions were unmistakable, but I had a lip of cervix, so I was told not to push until that was out of the way, which seemed to be for about 1/2 hour or so.

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)

It was both. I have described my pushing contractions as dry heaves but in reverse. But I was also pushing with them as well. Probably a little too hard, IMO, now looking back.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?

I'm not really sure. The urge to push and the sensations themselves didn't change, but I did start to get really tired and a little scared towards the end because it had been so long. While I was happy with the birth I had in the hospital, I feel like a good midwife could have helped me through this part of it a little better.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?

Yes, it was. I had concentrated all my preparation on dealing with the contractions, and never really thought about pushing. It seemed like everything I read (or based on my mom's experience) was that pushing was fairly quick, and felt more like a relief than anything. For me it was the worst part of the whole experience, and I was unprepared emotionally for how hard that would be on me. And no one had mentioned how totally brutalized it would leave me feeling afterwards. One of my reasons for not wanting medication was so I could feel good and be up and around after the birth, but I was so damn sore and tired from pushing that I didn't even want to hold ds at first. It was excruciating just to change positions while nursing. I would have liked to have been a little mroe prepared for pushing as a hard part of labor.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?

I didn't really have a philosophy before - I had everyone counting to 10, but I just did what I wanted to anyway. But this time I will be more forceful about not having people count, and about not straining so hard unless it's really necessary.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?

I ended up laying flat on my back with legs up, but to be honest, it's because I was so worn out. In the beginning I was squatting, standing, using the squatting bar, etc. But after 2 1/2 hours I was just so tired and sore. Again, though, it would have been nice if someone more experienced had been able to suggest some different positions that still allowed me to relax.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?

I've already mentioned some of that. When ds's head came out, the cord around his neck was so tight that it had to be cut before his body could be born, and he was limp, blue and not breathing at first. He ended up being just fine, but there was some speculation that the tight cord was making the pushing harder. I don't think I felt hindered, except I do remember wanting to push my feet against the stirrups, rather than in them, and being told not to. I don't remember why. I lost all inhibitions during labor, but I've fairly unhibited to begin with, so I wasn't surprised.
post #15 of 51
How long did you push?
midwives' notes say 15 minutes, felt like a lot longer than that to me!

How did you know when to start pushing?
I couldn't not push, my body just took over

Why did you start pushing when you did?
see above - at first I was trying so hard not to push, since I wasn't completely dilated and had a swollen cervical lip, but couldn't stop. At some point I gave in to my body's urges and pushed that baby out in record time!

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
see above

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
Well, I was fighting the urge to push at first, then finally gave in and went with it.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
No, my brain had nothing to do with it at all - my body took over.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
huh? I don't understand this question at all.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
I moved and changed positions between each contraction. I had always pictured myself laboring on my hands and knees, but that position didn't work at all for me.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
totally instinctive. Midwives made a couple suggestions, but I just let my body take over.


Please add any other relevant comments. Also feel free to email me your answers if you'd rather.
Bear in mind that I did not deliver my second baby at the hospital, and that I had some of the best midwives in the world attending this birth!
post #16 of 51
Here are the questions I have been asking:
Note*1-in hospital, 2-at home with mw
How long did you push?
1-40 minutes
2-I didn't

How did you know when to start pushing?
1-doc told me I was fully dialated and could push with each contraction.
2-n/a

Why did you start pushing when you did?
1-thought that was what I should do
2-n/a

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
1-voluntary
2-Mayby I could say there was involuntary pushing with this one, as I did not consciously push with this birth. I was never aware of any pushing, I just let my body do the work. It was also very fast, she emerged after only a couple surges.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
1-no
2-There were changes in my surges. I felt a surge push dd down, then stopped, then a surge that bulged my bag of waters out, but intact. Then about 10 minutes where I almost slept, then a surge that burst my bag, the next surge the head crowned, next surge the head was out, and a last surge for the body after a short break in the surges.

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
1-yes, I just followed docs orders, thought that was the way it goes.
2-I threw everything out the window and just trusted my body, knowing birth was not a place for my intellegent mind, but a place for my primal mind.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
I think you should listen to your body and not be hung up on the idea that any pushing is neccessary.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
1-reclyning in hospital bed, holding knees. I did as I was told.
2-I floated above dh's lap in a fishy pool, leaning back on him when I needed to. I didn't really think about positions with this one, just liked being in the water and that was the position that worked at the time.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
1-managed-yes. I was unhappy that the doc was so hurried about getting my babe out, I felt like when she was coming out that it did not have to be so urgent. And he cut me, when I told him not to. He also mad us feel like if we did not cut the cord right away it would be a life and death matter, not really complications, but definately not normal.
2-totally instinctive, not hindered at all, no complications. A gentle joyful birth.

Brandi
post #17 of 51
Thread Starter 
I'm really enjoying reading these answers. Just in case anybody's interested here are my own answers:

How long did you push?
#1- 2 hours
#2- 10 minutes
#3- 2 contractions (a few minutes?)


How did you know when to start pushing?
#1- I didn't! My midwife told me I was fully dilated and could start pushing, so I did.
#2- the baby was moving down, creating a sensation of pressure -- the midwife noted my reaction to this and said my body was pushing the baby out, and that I could start bearing down, so I did.
#3- same as #2, except I did not bear down until the urge was irresistible.


Why did you start pushing when you did?
#1- the midwife told me it was time
#2- I felt the urge, and the midwife confirmed it was time
#3- I couldn't help but push


Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
#1- totally voluntary (that is, I *made* myself do it, in the absence of any urge)
#2- my body was already pushing the baby down, and my added efforts were voluntary
#3- totally involuntary -- that "dry heave" feeling others have mentioned


Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
#1- No. Never felt an urge to push, it was sheer miserable force all the way.
#2- At first the pushing sensations were very far-away feeling (but unmistakable) but very quickly became overwhelming. I definitely worked harder the more overwhelming they became.
#3- No. It was very sudden and explosive -- I had no idea the birth was imminent. One moment I couldn't feel her head at all (she was still so far up), and the next her head was out, and the next her body was out.


Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
#1- Yes. I had no idea that the body could push the baby out (even though that's basically what the contractions are doing, duh) and thought that at some point the mother has to decide to get to work and get the baby out.
#2- Yes. I thought I would still have to put myself to work, but I believed my body would know better than the midwife when I should start, so we didn't check dilation -- I just waited for the pushing "urge".
#3- Yes. I didn't believe any longer that I needed to make myself push the baby out -- that if all was well and the hormonal process not made to go awry, that I would not and should not voluntarily push, that if my body needed me to bear down in addition to my uterus's efforts, it would compel me to.


What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
outlined above in #3

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
#1- semi-reclining. Didn't know that one could give birth in other positions :, and the midwife encouraged it so that she could do perineal massage and assistants could put counter-pressure on my feet while I pushed.
#2- squatting. I had been kneeling, but the midwife suggested I get into a squat for the birth. I didn't want to, but believed at the time that squatting was the ultimate position for giving birth in. I didn't think I could move, so midwife told husband to lift me up.
#3- kneeling. I had decided that I would let my body guide me. Throught transition I changed position many different times, then suddenly had an overwhelming understanding that I needed to kneel, though I didn't know the birth was imminent. She was born a few minutes later.


Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
#1- Totally managed, measured, and guided. Felt hindered by illness (from augmenting the labor with castor oil), disagreements with midwife, and inhibition. Nothing generally regarded as complications, though my body felt wrecked and my recovery was hard and long.
#2- Somewhat instinctive: the labor was not managed or measured, and only minimally guided. I did feel quite inhibited, and my concentration was thrown off, with the arrival of the midwife. No complications, quick recovery.
#3- Totally instinctive. A family member unexpectedly showed up during transition, which did throw off my concentration and made me feel inhibited, but left soon after. No complications, quick recovery.
post #18 of 51
How long did you push?

10 minutes with the first and 2 minutes with the second

How did you know when to start pushing?
When they told me with the first and more or less when I felt it (spontaneously) with the second

Why did you start pushing when you did?
The second: Because I though I had a compacted bowel, to be perfectly honest. I was dilated to 3 stretch to 4 15 minutes before I gave birth...I was told I was not in real labour. But I had very strong urges to push and assumed this must mean I had to poo! (sigh)

Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
I pushed along with each contraction with the first and when I felt like it with the second.

Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
With the first one I got better at noticing the urge to push (but still over 10 minutes I didn't get much time to practice!!) and with number two...2 minutes is too fast to get used to anything!

Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
I had a CNM on call deliver number one. I thought for sure I'd be doing the 1-10 hold your breath type of pushing, but she encouraged me to push as long as the contraction lasted.

What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
I dont' have one. It's not been an issue FOR ME so I've never given much thought to it. I guess it would be to listen to my body and let it do its job...it's going to push whether or not I think about it. If I free myself and relax I think it does its job more effectively.

What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
Number one I was reclining on my side, bed tipped down a bit. Number two I was standing, DH supporting me from behind.

Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
No meds with either (although I was asked to and did take an Ativan about 10 minutes before I had #2 because...I was not in labour, but was quite upset (umm, yeah...it's called TRANSITION!!!). Another sigh. There was medium thick meconium with #2 as well and other than they cut her cord immediately upon birth (sigh) there weren't any complications.
I was guided a bit with number one...at first...to know when to start to push...but I did not feel hindered at all and it happened much more quickly than I ever thought would happen.
post #19 of 51
Oh boy, this is interesting to read all these replies. I have to say that we are all soooooooooooooo different.
HOW LONG DID I PUSH?
with dd- about 14 minutes
with ds- 19 HOURS
HOW DID I KNOW WHEN TO START PUSHING?
I did not know either time, I never once in all the hours of labor, had any desire to push. with dd, my first labor, I was coached thru pushing her out after being 10 cm for about 4 hours and never getting the urge on my own.
with ds, I do not know waht the hell happened, that boy was stuck hard. Midwifes, dh, and I tried everything-- sex, nipple stimulation, hot showers, herbs, homeopathy, acupressurre, acupuncture, castor oils, etc.. before going to the hospital (hard for me to do too) and getting pitocin to couse strong enough contractions to get him out. He needed to be resesitated, the only good thing about being at the hospital already, BUT we were allowed to go home with mws when he was 1 hour born, they thought we were crazy but he was fine.
So now #3 is due in 7 weeks and who knows which way it will go??
post #20 of 51
Great thread. My experience pushing was my most unexpected experience with labor.
How long - just over an hour by my midwife's notes but felt like 15-20 minutes to me.
Voluntary or involuntary - mostly voluntary - had a bit of a cervical lip which my MW recommended "pushing through" since there was slight swelling devloping. I was fine with that but since I didn't feel a real urge, I think my initial pushes weren't terribly effective. Once I started pushing, I could tell how well my pushes were or weren't working by just "tuning in" to the sensations. I really never had any overwhelming urge to push even once he started to descend more. (I also never had any "transition" I had very slow, smooth progress through the whole labor.
Position - semi-reclining and on my side. I declined the birth tub the whole time (I got really cold when I got out at home so I didn't want that to happen again)
Preconceptions? - I'm a physician and attend births myself so I was most surprised that I didn't have an overwhelming pushing urge with an unmedicated (hypnobirthing) birth. I felt very much in control the whole time and that surprised me.
Philosophy - Mine has always been that your body will tell you what to do
Was my second stage managed - Absolutely but I truly believe it was appropriate guidance for my labor rather than a preconceived - "all women should push at 10 cm for 10 seconds 3 times with each ctx". I had a great MW and trusted her completely to intervene only for things htat would help. I also know that without any thing I'd probably have done fine too, but I think the management was helpful.
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