How would you teach someone to push? :) I was told to research mother directed pushing at my last meeting with our doula where we "practiced" pushing positions and I felt clumsy and embarrassed. I read somewhere that the pushing urge may feel like having to poop, but not to push like pooping. More like pushing your belly out and letting the contraction do the work. Everything else I've heard says to bear down like you're pooping though. Or breath your baby out, which means don't push? Which brings up another question, does a FTM really push for 1-2 hours? Yikes! I wanted to ask you ladies here as I felt like this group would have the most experience with following their body, which in my mind reveals the "right" way. My CNMs are supportive and planning a water birth, however we will be in the hospital and I feel like I need to be on top of my game because it wont be as easy to be /have my body be the one leading the show as it were if I were at home. I'd love to hear all the knowledge you've gleaned about pushing from having BTDT!
My first (and only) deliver lasted 15 minutes and about 4 pushes....I don't think it has much to do with being first time or 15 th time. Many of my friends pushed much longer. I went into labour quite naive and just assumed that pushing was only a few minutes. I had no idea it was quite normal to push for hours!
edited to ad- The doula that did my prenatal class described it as trying to blow up a really difficult balloon
Gloria LeMay has a lovely article about it:
And it's actually very very common for first time mothers to push for several hours---it can be disheartening to think of it now, but most women feel at least a little bit of an energy surge. It's also so physiologically normal to get a rest or a break in contractions for a period of half an hour or so right as you get to 10 centimeters or completely dilated. Your body is trying to gear you up for the big finish. For many women, it's great to feel like you are finally doing something, not just riding the contractions, which for some women feels too passive so they like the active part of pushing.
Mama to P. born at home 10/09, and W. born in the hospital 2/13
So, I think in many cases where you have an unmedicated birth you don't need to figure out how to push because after some time you won't be able to help it. The urge is very very strong. I hated pushing all 3 times. I found the contractions tolerable but with pushing I just felt like I was going to tear in half. I fought off the urge to push for as long as I could, despite my body telling me it was time! It was extremely painful and the worst part of giving birth for me. But because it hurt so much I was determined to get it done with ASAP so all 3 of mine were out in less than 10 mins, even my posterior baby! As for positions, my first was lying on my back because that's just what you did at the hospital. Second was lying on my side. Third was on my back again because I was rolling over and then just got stuck that way during a contraction and figured why not. :p A lot of people like being upright but I like lying because it's easier to curl my body up and around the baby and I like grabbing onto my legs. But you'll know what you want to do when the time comes!
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
Labor and delivery are more like a dance. Just pay attention, and dont get in a rush. You really will know what to do. :-)
I've only had one baby so far but she was badly positioned (tilted her head up, making the head circumference much large and giving her a big forehead bruise as a result) and I think I pushed for 2 hours. I don't know how long it would have been with good positioning but I'm guessing not as long. Also, before I consciously started pushing my uterus was definitely doing it for me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. So when my midwife suggested that I push along with the contractions I just put a little more "oomph" into what my body was doing, if that makes any sense.
For most women, your conscious self doesn't need to do anything. Your uterus will push your baby out with or without you. It feels like throwing up, only directed downwards, so I call it "throwing down". There is no stopping it once it starts, but you can give extra effort behind your body's pushes. You will know how to do that once you feel your body pushing.
That's how my experience was too. The pushing was just happening, I wasn't consciously pushing. And I couldn't not push had I tried. I also thought pushing was so much better than the last part of contractions (transition)! I pushed for one hour, but as exhausting as it was, it didn't seem like that long.
I will sound very hippie here, but: Pushing felt like Life was just passing through me to get DS out. Like lightning bolts or something, but not in a bad way. It's hard to explain. It was very painful, but he was posterior and apparently posterior births are more painful. I'm sill happy with my unmedicated birth though!
I pushed for about 20 minutes. It feels like a large object is coming out of your vagina, and you can sort of bear down and help squeeze it out.
It is similar to pooping in the sense that pooping is a large object being pushed by your colon and and through your anal sphincter. You have a slightly similar bearing down feeling, except you are using some of the same muscles and some more vagina-specific ones.
The whole "breathing down" as opposed to "purple pushing" is actually two schools of thought about physical effort. You know when you're doing something really hard, like lifting something heavy? Some people tell you to exert your muscles on the outbreath, like in pilates, and some people tell you to hold your breath, like in weight lifting. Either way will get the job done, and in some ways it's kind of a personal preference.
Personally, I preferred to push on the outbreath. It worked for me pretty well, but YMMV.
Also: between pushes, I'd experiment with relaxing as much as possible to let your vagina stretch, like the hardcore fisters tell you to do.
It depends, or for me it did. With my first I had an epidural. It did feel like I was pooping.
With my second I didn't use medications, and I was on my knees. This felt totally different. It was involuntary. My body just did it, and I couldn't stop it if I wanted too. It felt like all the muscles in my upper legs, butt, thighs and lower stomach tensed up at once. I didn't feel like I was pooping at all. I pushed with it and ended up tearing, so this time, I'm going to try and breath through them and exhale and let baby do it's thing with my body. Hopefully. I may freak and and push that baby out on the first push. lol
With the epidural, on my back, I pushed for over an hour. With no meds on my knees, it was 3 pushes and done. I don't think it matters which baby you are on, I think positioning can have a lot to do with it. Gravity helps a bit for some women.
I pushed for almost exactly 2 hours, but I think the first hour or at least half-hour wasn't doing anything--my first birth was with a solo-practice midwife who was very tired that day and trying to hurry things along and thus encouraged me to start pushing as soon as I reached 10cm even though I wasn't feeling an urge. I suspect that if I had rested to recover from transition and sort of get my head around where I now was, the urge to push would have come sooner and the whole thing would have been more effective.
I had a change of nurses halfway through pushing, and the second nurse gave me the most helpful tip: Focus on the top of your uterus and push it down. Once I started doing that, I made much better progress than before. I had been thinking of pushing the baby out of my vagina, but when I began visualizing pushing the baby out of my uterus by kind of gathering my uterus up behind/above the baby and pushing on it, that really worked.
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
^ This is awesome! So... my baby is 6 weeks old (what??!) and I didn't get to push, I had HELLP and had a C-section. Hopefully next time I'll get to try out all this great advice though!