whats with "chin to chest!"??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-01-2004, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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In my depressed stupor today, I watched Birth Day AND Baby Story to try to distract myself. Bah.

Whats the deal with the rule of putting your chin to your chest to push? Granted, the women I saw weren' t really feeling the pushing, but I just kept thinking that if someone tried to boss me around and tell me where to put my chin while I wanted to push, I'd tell em where they could shove it......

Anyways, how does that help? I don't get it....
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#2 of 6 Old 03-01-2004, 07:22 PM
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It's shorthand for "curl your spine". They are trying to get the mom into a fetal position to aid in pushing. Those head-thrown-back yells are not as effective as the energy is not directed abdominally.


I think any direction from someone you trust that is LOOKING at you is good. A good attendant will perhaps notice that you are pushing better when curled and remind you to do that. Or notice you are looking direction and help you regain focus.
Someone who just makes all pushing women do it is not terribly helpful in my never humble opinion.

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#3 of 6 Old 03-01-2004, 08:53 PM
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I think it's also supposed to help the mom direct her energy. People, when laying on their backs, have a tendency to push in their face and neck, and it's supposed to help them focus on their abdominal muscles.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-01-2004, 08:59 PM
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I found that if I curled around my belly, while laying on my side, I pushed better but it certainly had nothing to do with either my chin or my chest. : How weird.
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#5 of 6 Old 03-01-2004, 10:14 PM
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It's one of those things that may help, but unfortunately is presented as a "must". Same thing with relaxing your face, keeping your voice low, not gripping hard onto anything. Sometimes attendants get obsessive about mothers doing these things, as if anything else will keep the baby from being born.

Not necessarily. In my case, I had an extremely painful last six hours of birth, and the way I felt like dealing with it (that is, without thinking about it) was to scream and yell and scrunch up my face and squeeze the hand off my husband's arm. The midwife kept saying, "no, no, you must relax!" All of that stuff I was doing, though I couldn't seem to help it, was "wrong". Quite honestly it was demoralizing not to be able to do it the way she was telling me to (the "right" way,) and counterproductive to keep expending time and energy trying. I was trying to control my natural inclinations and make them something else. It was a VERY stressful birth and a difficult recovery, although there were no complications. I attribute that to the fact that in trying to follow her directions for the "right" way to labor, I was having to ignore what my body was telling me to do.

For my next I told the midwife (new) that I would do it MY way and I wanted her to stay OUT of my way. She was fine with that and didn't attempt to direct or guide my behavior in labor. After a perfectly enjoyable first stage, in transition the back labor started up again. But this time I felt free to do whatever I wanted, which included grimacing, yodeling at the top of my lungs, with my face stretched up to the sky, and biting the edge of the tub. It was my easiest, quickest birth; 2nd stage took 10 minutes. And this was because my way of "letting go" including making a big scene. (You can imagine how much I wished my first midwife were there so I could stick out my tongue at her and say, "so there!") I felt great after the birth.

My third was unassisted, and progressed in much the same way, only it was even more spontaneous and instinctive. I had a slow, mild, somewhat boring labor. Then in transition -- the last hour -- I again had back labor and felt compelled to make a lot of noise, thrash around a lot, swear, etc. Again, this was my way of "letting go", not holding back, as my first midwife had accused me of. The baby was born easily in two pushes -- which to me meant that my body was able to do its work efficiently and perfectly, that is, there was no evidence that it had been hindered by my actions, and of course I believe just the opposite -- that everything I did helped me release stress that the pain was producing, rather than creating it. I again felt great after the birth.
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#6 of 6 Old 03-03-2004, 03:09 PM
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The curled "fetal" position is one reason, but they also tell women to do chin-to-chest to keep the throat closed off, which keeps air in the lungs, which means more mass/force behind the push.

I had an experience similar to blueviolet's. I thought I was "supposed to" do chin-to-chest for pushing with my first, so I did - completely against my instincts! My face showed the battle scars of holding my breath and tensing up to keep my chin down for several days.

Between #1 and #2, I read Ina May's new book, and when she talked about the relaxed-jaw/relaxed-cervix connection, I remembered how unnatural chin-to-chest had felt to me. So I ignored that for the second, and my midwife left me alone as I did what felt natural - loose jaw (as loose as a jaw can be with that much effort) and plenty of noise. Making noise makes me feel GOOD! Pushing was far easier (and not just because it was far shorter) when I listened to my body! Some women might find chin-to-chest most comfortable and effective, but they shouldn't be made to think it's the only way.

Of course, if they couldn't feel the urge to push, maybe chin-to-chest is the only way to be effective.
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