Originally Posted by christygen
My close friend who birth about a year ago said that the whole birthing process was uncomfortable but that pushing the baby out is what really hurt the most. It just really worries me about something that big coming out of something that small.
Honestly? It is the worst part for a lot of women (assuming they've gone natural) because most birth attendants have them avoiding pushing when they have the urge, and pushing when they don't. This kind of direction interferes with the optimal hormonal release that will make your tissues stretchy. Think of it this way: how would it be to have sex if you weren't aroused, that is, if hormones weren't flooding your body? It would hurt. You might even have abrasions. Well magnify that times quite a bit bigger object passing through, and you can see how crucial it is to plan a birthing environment that facilitates hormonal release. Think about what you need to become sexually aroused; the same hormones are present in birth, and the same sort of conditions necessary in order for them to release fully. You can see how it will help to be unselfconscious, uninhibited, "in another world", confident, secure, not feeling observed, as little light as possible, comfortable temperature, and with no one trying to converse with you or direct you. It will also help if you allow your body to cue you as when to push or not and how much, rather than some arbitrary measurement. That means no vaginal exams (which are also mentally inhibiting and can the muscles in that area to tense, exactly what you don't want.)
These things will all help your vagina to open wide and not tear. 10 cm is *not* the limit. That's the average point at which your cervix has fully receded. It doesn't mean that's the diameter the baby has to pass through! In fact, even for the average disturbed birth the vagina opens much farther than that to admit the head. And the vagina is actually *not* small. The tissue is just usually extremely compressed.
I had a very difficult pushing phase with my first baby -- two hours, without an urge. This is considered normal. But once I removed all the inhibiting factors -- me with my legs wide open before the midwife, her with her hands up me and on me, telling me when and how to push -- I found I was capable of a quick, easy, truly
normal second stage. And yes, it hurt -- I think that most modern-day women are really not in physical or mental shape to do this without some pain. But the painful part of it was incredibly short, and there was no trauma to the tissues. I felt great afterwards. And the best thing was that her coming down through me also felt good
. So amazing, in fact, that I relived those sensations over and over in my mind until the memory faded several months later. (I wish I could still remember it.)
So, have hope! You can do this, and it can be wonderful!