Can Stirrups Ever Be A Good Thing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had two babies(both with epidurals that stopped working right as both of their heads were beginning to crown).Each time, DH and a nurse held my legs for me..and I "helped" by pulling my legs back.
For me, this was tough. I was tried to pull my legs back in just the right way while DH was preoccupied with his "job" of holding my leg.
This next time I think I'd rather try stirrups so that a)I can focus solely on pushing and b)dh can focus solely on coaching me.
As long I'm in a sitting/semi sitting position,will this work? Also, do hospitals still strap laboring mothers to the stirrups? How does that work?
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#2 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 02:14 AM
 
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I don't know if stirrups are a good thing. For me they were uncomfortable and my feet didn't fit well in them. They were not well padded and not at the right angle. I did much better with someone holding each leg. For my first birth it was my dh and a nurse.

Have you thought about natural birth?

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#3 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAmma
I don't know if stirrups are a good thing. For me they were uncomfortable and my feet didn't fit well in them. They were not well padded and not at the right angle. I did much better with someone holding each leg. For my first birth it was my dh and a nurse.

Have you thought about natural birth?
Oh,that's what I'm aiming for
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#4 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 02:43 AM
 
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Mine were more like long troughs I could lay my legs on in between pushes. Then dh and the nurse helped me hold them for pushes. I eas semi-siiting with one and more reclined with the other. I wasn't strapped in and have never seen strap in stirryps at any hospital I have worked at.

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#5 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 06:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trippingbillies
Oh,that's what I'm aiming for
In that case, you might want to consider birthing in a vertical position in order to open the pelvis wider and let gravity assist. In which case stirrups would be irrelevant.
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#6 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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My 2nd labor went very quickly. I was surprised at how fast. The nurses came in and broek the bed down. I put my feet up in the stirrups just to push myself back, but they felt HEAVENLY! Seriously, I loved having my feet up there. I was really comfortabel, go figure.

However, this was my smallest babe, and I still tore. With my 9lb2oz babe, no stirrups, I didn't tear. With my 10lb2oz babe, homebirthed, I didn't tear.

So, the good, the bad, and the ugly!
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#7 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 11:05 AM
 
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I pushed in the lithomy position with my feet planted on something like stirrups with my first baby. OUCH, my pelvic floor muscles were soooo sore and I was given the ol' episiotomy. :

Second baby was a waterbirth, when ds first started coming (I didn't push, he roared out) I was kneeling and sat back in dh's lap sitting upright when he crowned. Third baby was pushed out kneeling.

The 2nd and 3rd times were much easier- try pushing in an upright position, it's just so much better! No super sore pelvic floor muscles and no tears.
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#8 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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This thread is giving me the strangest mental image of a woman squatting to give birth while balancing on the footrests my gynacologist has.
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#9 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 11:23 AM
 
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SC
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#10 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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I've not seen stirrups in the hospitals here.

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#11 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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I had a natural birth at a hospital and did use stirrups. I wasn't strapped in to them, but they acted more like a midway "rest stop" between pushes where DH and the nurse helped fold my legs up.
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#12 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 12:46 PM
 
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IMHO there's nothing wrong with stirrups per se... but pushing on a table in even a so-called upright position seems totally wrong to me. You can't really get upright on a table, not the part that counts at least (even if your head is up, your pelvis is still sideways). Worse, it keeps you from being mobile, since even though they don't strap you in, it's not exactly easy for a laboring woman to get on and off the table at will.

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#13 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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Actually, a sitting position is even just as bad as laying flat on your back because of how it pushes on your pelvis.
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#14 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 04:20 PM
 
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I stood up in the stirrups. They had handles and I pulled myself up off the table completely so I was kind of teetering in the things. Really made the OB nervous. And he tried to push my chest down but I almost fell off the table when he did that so he gave up
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#15 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 04:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
In that case, you might want to consider birthing in a vertical position in order to open the pelvis wider and let gravity assist. In which case stirrups would be irrelevant.




SC - how much do you know about natural birth, anyway?
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#16 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rozzie'sma
I stood up in the stirrups. They had handles and I pulled myself up off the table completely so I was kind of teetering in the things. Really made the OB nervous. And he tried to push my chest down but I almost fell off the table when he did that so he gave up

this scares me! stuff like this actually happens in hospitals nowadays?? :
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#17 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 05:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by klothos
SC - how much do you know about natural birth, anyway?
Whoops, should have said, just as bad as a laying down position. I'll fix that. All three positions, legs up, legs down and semi sitting are crappy positions and the way that epidurals and narrow hospital beds make those the only positions available to a majority of women should be considered a crime.
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#18 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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I find pulling at the legs just as horrible, or at least that's how I felt at that time. Raped in a way. But maybe it's different with an epidural, I don't know. I wonder why they don't at least make the women sit on a birthing stool, so I tend to think :never a good thing.
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#19 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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W/my first 2, there were full leg stirrups- I held onto a handlebar w/dd that allowed me to pull myself up to a vertical position. W/ds, i didn't have that handlebar and the nurse/dh pulled my leg back- that was WAY harder. W/ds2, I ended up w/a csection, so completely different.

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#20 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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When I was in the hospital, they put me in stirrups - no leg holding. They didn't have any straps - I think those went out in the 70s. My DH pushed my back up so I was sitting upright, but yeah, it's not the same as squatting or kneeling, which I really wanted to do. If I'd known ahead of time that I was going to be birthing in a hospital with OBs, I would have talked to the OBs and discussed positions. But things happened very quickly and I was in the hospital preterm, and the OB that ran into the room to catch the baby was one I'd never seen before. So there wasn't much I could do at that point, and I really was more worried about my baby being healthy. He wasn't even 4 lbs, and I tore, because I was in a bad position and was being directed to push with each contraction (which I wasn't feeling an urge to push after the first one, and I didn't feel the contractions during that stage).

If I am in the hospital with this one (it'd be for a preterm issue most likely, unless other complications arise like pre-e or something), I will definitely talk to my OB first about squatting or hands and knees positions. Tearing sucks! I've heard of many women using those positions in the hospital if they asked to do it, so it's worth mentioning to your doctor that you might want to try those positions (which one is right for you will depend on how you feel at the moment, of course). I do NOT want to deliver on my back again.

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#21 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 06:40 PM
 
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Are there any hospital beds which don't give you enough space to get up and squat in the bed or something? I'm envisioning (in case of a hospital transfer, and barring no other major complications) myself screaming to the docs, "screw the stirrups, I'm just gonna squat in this bed!"
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#22 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 06:52 PM
 
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I ended up giving birth on my back with my legs held up and out of the way by two people. I hated it. I requested that they not hold my legs and got *overruled* by the nurse. I tried to get my legs out of their arms but they were a lot stronger than me. I did feel raped kind of. I wanted to squat...I wanted to be upright...but b/cuz i had the epidural (b/cuz of amniotomy) I was not allowed.

the stirrups had a use...my legs were in them afterward when my dr sewed up the tear my son made trying to get out and the cut he made helping him.

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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#23 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 07:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poetesss
Are there any hospital beds which don't give you enough space to get up and squat in the bed or something? I'm envisioning (in case of a hospital transfer, and barring no other major complications) myself screaming to the docs, "screw the stirrups, I'm just gonna squat in this bed!"
the bed i was in when i had my son was very narrow. there's no way i could have properly squatted on it. not to mention that beds in the maternity ward typically break down in the middle so that you can scoot forward and the doctor can catch the baby.

SC - yeah i was wondering about that. then i saw your sigline and i was like, " " ??

my daughter was born while i was half sitting / half squatting.
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#24 of 62 Old 06-01-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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When I had my first baby, I pushed mostly on my left side. A nurse would help me hold my right leg as I pushed. I had the shakes (from late labor, I guess) and it was hard to hold my leg up, so after a while, the nurse got the idea to attach an old style stirrup, with the leg rest backwards, so I could lean my leg against the padded part. It was really comfy, actually, and I didn't shake any more because of the nice support. Not exactly standard use of a stirrup, but it seemed okay to me!

That standard hospital, semi-sitting with legs pulled back position is really not physiological. It requires pushing the baby around a corner going uphill, and stretches the perineum unnaturally. You can certainly squat on a standard delivery room bed, or be hands and knees, or side-lying. Or squat on the floor, or kneel over the bed, or whatever works. It helps for your attendant to be hands off and physically flexible enough to get on the floor, too, though!
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#25 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 02:39 AM
 
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I had mine at home so stirrups were not an option, but I birthed flat on my back. During pushing I totally didn't want to be touched much, but needed some pressure on my back to help with the pain of a long back labor. The best soultion was flat on my back. I definitely didn't want my legs held up/back (see the part about no touching wanted) so ended up propping them up on pillows and midwives and apprentices knees as they sat next to me. I definitely liked the physical support of people, but just from a POV of the positon that was comfortable for me to birth in, yeah stirrups or some similar thing might've been nice. But they would've had to have adjusted perfectly to my preference, which I gues is not generally an option.

I think that part of what prevented tearing for me despite the flat on my back position was that I insisted on having my legs propped up a bit so they weren't totally spread, stretching out the perineum.

Just my theory from my own experiences. I guess it's stretching the "ever" part of the hypo a bit far though...
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#26 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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Sitting is not ideal, but it's okay. It's the semi-reclining that makes trouble. Someone said that lying down is better than semi-reclining, and that's true. I think hospitals started switching to semi-reclining because it is more empowering for the woman to be on the doctor's level, she can get better leverage, and it just seems like a more active position. But it's really harder for pushing the baby out, as you're having to push around a bend and upwards. That's not to say that lying down is all that great. In a McRoberts position (knees to chest) you can get the pelvis opened wider, but you still have to deal with working without gravity to assist, you are in an extremely vulnerable and exposed position which may have psychological/inhibiting ramifications and makes it easier for the doctor to use surgical interventions, and finally the pelvis certainly isn't free floating like it is in a vertical position. Side-lying is comfortable for some women and has the added benefit of not reducing blood flow to the uterus (same reason it's better to lie on your side while sleeping while pregnant.) Vertical positions avoid all these problems.
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#27 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 11:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klothos
this scares me! stuff like this actually happens in hospitals nowadays?? :
LOL, I doubt it! It does point up the absurdity, though, of the feeling the hospital encourages of being restricted to the bed. I mean, no one is going to say, "hey, I feel like standing up to give birth. But I'd really prefer to do it four feet off the ground while teetering precariously on two small supports."
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#28 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poetesss
Are there any hospital beds which don't give you enough space to get up and squat in the bed or something? I'm envisioning (in case of a hospital transfer, and barring no other major complications) myself screaming to the docs, "screw the stirrups, I'm just gonna squat in this bed!"
My plan in that case would be to strip the linens from the bed and squat on the floor. Those hospital beds are absurdly high, I can't imagine being able to easily get on them while 9 months pregnant (although, who knows, maybe I'll be one of those althetic sorts of pregnant women?) let alone while in the middle of labor.
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#29 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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I think what makes the stirrups so stupid is that they can easily be postioned in a way that lifts the pelvis as well as the legs. When people lift the legs, they will have more trouble lifting up the body as well as the legs and pillows and things are lower. So you get the benefits of the spreading (not nearly as good as a vertical position, but if laying is what your instincts are saying, go with it) without the disadvantage of fighting gravity--gravity isn't helping either, mind you.

I'm basing this off of a couple of pictures I've seen of a laboring mother in stirrups where there was clearly air between her buttocks and the bed. It could be her pelvis was simply elevated because of her own movement. (Hmmm, wish I remember where I saw the pictures, then you could analyse them yourselves.)
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#30 of 62 Old 06-02-2006, 02:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan

I'm basing this off of a couple of pictures I've seen of a laboring mother in stirrups where there was clearly air between her buttocks and the bed. It could be her pelvis was simply elevated because of her own movement.
I remember my mom telling me: what helps during contractions is to lift your lower body up off the bed. I was like uhhh, okay mom ... but I don't think I'll be laboring lying with my butt down on the bed like that!
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