pushing questions - Mothering Forums
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Birth and Beyond > pushing questions
MommytoTwo's Avatar MommytoTwo 01:54 AM 01-19-2007
How hard is it? I get so scared seeing these women on tv with their veins bulging out of their heads. I know they are on their backs and purple pushing and all that. How much effort is it to push? Is it effort that they are grunting/screaming about or is the pain? I need to know this. I mean we arent all athletes. I am nervous!!!!

lifescholar's Avatar lifescholar 02:01 AM 01-19-2007
It's a huge effort! But I didn't find it nearly as exhausting as the rest of labour! You get pretty long breaks between pushes....

Now, I ended up with an epidural after 49 hours of labour, so I had controlled pushing, but this is what worked for me.

I was doing 3 pushes in a row, and then a break. At first, when I took another breath in between pushes, I was relaxing for that split second, which was allowing my son's head to slide back up. After an hour, when we were getting VERY concerned about his heart rate, I finally figured out what to do. In between pushes, I HELD him where he was, and then with the next push, I was able to build on the previous push, to push him out farther.

THAT worked like a charm, and he was out in less than 1/2 an hour after I found that out (and up until then, his head wasn't even really in the birth canal yet, which is why we were thinking of a possible c-section).

Having no pain meds, of course, would probably make it easier to know this....

This is your 3rd, though, right? So hopefully the pushing stage won't be very long!

ETA: I see you are a HBAC mama!! Have you ever had a vaginal birth, or were they both c-sections? I hope your HBAC is everything you are dreaming of....and more!!
sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 02:45 AM 01-19-2007
The most common advice I've seen for pushing, from people who enjoyed their births is WAIT.

Just because you're 10cm doesn't mean the baby's ready to come out. Let your body start pushing on it's own.

"foetal ejection reflex" is a good term to look at

Here's a nice general article on pushing. Note that the "purple pushing" described in the article is what you're seeing on birth shows.

Note, I have a cousin who had an epidural and never pushed, so even if you can't feel what's going on, your body might be able to take care of things on its own.
savithny's Avatar savithny 03:14 AM 01-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
How hard is it? I get so scared seeing these women on tv with their veins bulging out of their heads. I know they are on their backs and purple pushing and all that. How much effort is it to push? Is it effort that they are grunting/screaming about or is the pain? I need to know this. I mean we arent all athletes. I am nervous!!!!
Well, for my first I did have to push - no one coached me, I *had* to push, like waves of this urge to throw up, only downwards. I remember wondering how people in the birthstories who report "Oh, then they made me wait to push because the OB wasn't there" could DO it - but they're all epiduraled up, I guess...

But just because it was completely involuntary and irresistible didn't mean it wasn't work... it was this giant wave of "heave ho" sensation that I just had to go along with and use my effort along with, somehow, and I *was* noisy - DH assumed that it must have hurt from the sounds I made, but they were *work* noises. Picture a Bulgarian weightlifter doing 300-pound clean-and-jerk lifts, and that was what it was like - grunting with effort. The next day my abs felt like I'd been doing situps. But man, was it a huge rush, too, and *for me* the pushing didn't hurt. I was also a bit of a marshmallow - it wasn't anything that required Jane Fonda Abs or anything like that.

That's *just* my experience, and its different for everyone....
carmel23's Avatar carmel23 03:20 AM 01-19-2007
doing kegels helped me a lot-- I think that they really make pushing more productive-- good luck and relax--

I mean, don't worry about it now--doing kegels give you something to do now to prepare for the work of pushing.

With my last labor I could not push--I kept yelling to my doc (this is the 3rd birth with the same doc) and dh I HAVE TO PUSH-- infact my body was doing littl e pushes on its own, could Not not push...
FreeThinkinMama's Avatar FreeThinkinMama 04:18 AM 01-19-2007
I've pushed with the epi and without and both times found it surprisingly easy. Like you it really seemed intimidating after watching deliveries on television but iMO it's the easiest part of labor.

I only pushed for 20 minutes with my dd (had the epi) and 5 minutes with ds (without epi). It was more painful with ds obviously but the urge to push was overwhelming. it's a lot like having a bowel movement. I did ask for directed pushing even though my birth plan i said I didn't want it because I was in so much pain I wasn't quite sure when I was having a contraction and I needed that focus. The nurse was great, she said to push 3 reps for 10 seconds each but if I couldn't make it to 10 that was fine. i usually made it to 5-6 and stopped. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to push because it hurt so bad but that wasn't a problem at all. And of course once he was out it was such a huge relief. And it was such a rush actually feeling his head and shoulders come out, totally different than when my dd was born. With the epi I still felt the urge to push but all I felt was pressure. I didn't feel any pain or contractions so I needed directed pushing.
Mrs_Hos's Avatar Mrs_Hos 04:21 AM 01-19-2007
I pushed when my body told me to--no purple pushing here!
Oddly, I was having strong pushing contrax, then my body would rest and Id have a very small (not difficult) contrax which Id rest thru...so, yes I was tired, but if you listen to your body and only push when you feel the urge, you will have more 'rest time' possibly and less likely chance of tearing

I roared like a strong powerful lion...not due to pain, but just power!
October16Mom's Avatar October16Mom 11:06 AM 01-19-2007
I pushed for two hours, and it was really more effort than pain. Even though I had an epi, it had worn off a lot, and I felt a lot. I didn't think at the time I felt an urge to push, but during contractions I was in intense pain and pushing was the only thing that would take that pain away. I know it sounds silly. Even though I should have taken a break, I couldn't because as soon as I would stop pushing the pain would come back. Even stopping to take a breath was excruciating. It helped me to gradually exhale while pushing (so much better than holding your breath). Also, I needed something to pull on while I pushed, if that makes any sense. When I started pulling back on my leg while I pushed on my side is when I really started making progress.
koru's Avatar koru 12:05 PM 01-19-2007
if at all possible, do not push flat on your back! i'm sure you know this but gravity works wonders. i pushed on my left side with dd1 (wanted a water birth, had meconium & so tried hands & knees but somehow ended up on my side.....not the greatest) but with dd2 i was on a birthing stool & it was much "easier." it still requires effort but if you take your time, push when you feel like pushing & rest when you need to rest.

and i agree....the yelling is more out of power than pain! my mom said she knew when dd1 was going to be born because i let out a huge roar & out she came. i love that story!
JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn 12:25 PM 01-19-2007
For many women, pushing is the easiest part of labor. As long as you wait til you have to urge and it feels right to push. It took me 20 minutes all told, through about 8 contractions. I'm no athelete either. It doesn't hurt nearly as much as it looks like it should and moments later you barely remember that. It is a pretty big effort...its kinda like having a huge poo, not that my ds is poo but you know what I mean .

Make sure you get in some kind of squat or on hands and knees, even if you don't feel like moving you need to get in a good position anyway. Push to the point of comfort, hold your breath if you feel like it or let it out slowly. Usually a good push is about 5-6 seconds, take a breath, do it again. Take breaks to get a few good breaths of air and between contractions.

Sometimes the technique comes naturally sometimes it doesn't, follow whatever cues you do get from your body. If you don't really feel like bearing down the uterine muscles might be doing the work without your extra effort, that can be fine too barring any complications.
pcasylum's Avatar pcasylum 12:28 PM 01-19-2007
For me, pushing was the easiest part. With all 3 I waited until my body was involuntarily pushing before I started, and with each one it took an average of 5 minutes. It was powerful, and awesome ... I just love the feeling of power that comes with pushing.
onlyboys's Avatar onlyboys 12:42 PM 01-19-2007
Your midwife will let you push whenever you feel like it. So, do that. If that means that you have a long rest and be thankful period, do that.

For me, pushing was indescribably painful. The rest of labor was cake--I could have labored all night (maybe there's a song there!) but pushing I HATED. Fortunately, I never had to push more than twice before they were out. It wasn't hard physical work for me. It was just not comfortable.

I'm very excited for you!
saraann's Avatar saraann 12:45 PM 01-19-2007
I had an epidural so I don't know what it would feel like without one. I could feel my contractions but they weren't intense.
Pushing is very tiring. Doing kegel excercises prior to birth actually turned out to be helpful to me. It made it easy to figure out how to push using that part of my body.
You'll be fine, don't worry.
sedalbj's Avatar sedalbj 12:55 PM 01-19-2007
i found that the pushing itself doesn't hurt, it is a nice break from the labor. once your body starts telling you to push (it will tell you when it is ready) pretend you are pushing out a giant poop. there will probably be pain as the head is coming out (ring of fire), but by then you are so relieved that you are almost done, you will welcome it!
4lilfarmers's Avatar 4lilfarmers 01:02 PM 01-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby_Makes_5 View Post
For me, pushing was the easiest part. With all 3 I waited until my body was involuntarily pushing before I started, and with each one it took an average of 5 minutes. It was powerful, and awesome ... I just love the feeling of power that comes with pushing.
i felt like this too! my body was doing the work itself for the most part...and i was upright and had gravity helping but this was the best part of labor for me by far!
Romana's Avatar Romana 01:44 PM 01-19-2007
It was the hardest work I've ever done in my life (and I've run marathons), but it wasn't that bad. For me, pushing didn't last very long (25 min). It was a bit of a trial b/c I expected to feel relief when pushing, but it hurt just as much (or more) than the last 7 hours or so, which had been very painful. Also, I never had a pushing urge; in fact, I'd been "waiting" at 9++ cm for over 7 hours for that urge that just never came. So I had to push without an urge, which was fine, b/c you just do what you do when pooping, except more. However, I do have to say that I simply loathed and hated the pushing part and the feeling of pushing. It was very, very painful for me, plus it just felt . . . awful!

Needless to say, I'm hoping it's easier/better next time, but not expecting it! Despite how hard it was for me, I still want another babe and am prepared for another vaginal birth. You can do it! And you're more likely to have an easier, positive pushing experience than the tough one I had. But even if you do, just remember you can do it, and you're approaching the finish line once you start pushing. Although I do remember thinking "Ok, that hurts and stings, this must be crowning. Ok, well then THIS must be crowning" and not having the doctor say she was crowning until several pushes later!

FWIW, I was not flat on my back - I was semi-upright in a bed. It didn't feel any different than the last 7 hrs I spent on the toilet, though, so I don't think it was any harder b/c I was in that position.

I second pushing when you feel the urge to push, but there's always a chance you may never have an urge. Even when I was pushing, there was no urge - I was just "choosing" to push when I felt a contraction. Bottom line, everyone has a different experience. Make sure you have a doula or someone there to remind you that you don't have to push for 10 full seconds or any of that garbage. I had a doctor yelling "push push push push push!" at me, but I ignored it (thanks to my doula reminding me) and just pushed maybe 3-7 sec/contraction, whatever felt right.

I hope you have one of the "easy" "I liked pushing" experiences!

Julia
dd 10 mos
Full Heart's Avatar Full Heart 01:50 PM 01-19-2007
I'm probably not the person to ask since I am terrified of pushing. It doesn't hurt me at all. I have never been directed to push, no one has ever coached me. I do everything instinctivly. But I feel like I am drowning when I push. My ribs and chest hurt so badly after delivery. I do not hold my breath so I have no idea why I feel this way. I have to mentally tell myself it will be over very quickly once I start pushing. Last time I refused to push (you can do that you know. Your uterus will do all the work). I grunted through contractions. Its hard not to push when your body is telling you to push. But I was just not going to feel that way again.

I have never pushed longer than 30 min, and that was with my first. #5 was born in 2 pushes (from zero station). So its not like I do it for a long time. And it doesn't matter what position I am in.

I'm 34 weeks now and think daily that I am gonna have to push another baby out in a few weeks. Ugh. I worry that I will have my body pushing and I won't be able to resist. Of all the things to worry about, I worry about the last 5 min .
KiwiZ's Avatar KiwiZ 01:53 PM 01-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommytoTwo View Post
How hard is it? I get so scared seeing these women on tv with their veins bulging out of their heads. I know they are on their backs and purple pushing and all that. How much effort is it to push? Is it effort that they are grunting/screaming about or is the pain? I need to know this. I mean we arent all athletes. I am nervous!!!!
I had a c-sec and a VBAC and was very curious about pushing also. For me, pushing was kind of like pooping, it felt like I was using the same muscles. It was hard work, but I don't think you need to be nervous about it. If you are like me, you will just be "in the moment", it was exciting cuz you can't control contractions, but you can help push baby out. Don't worry, you can do it! And I agree to do to kegals ahead of time, they strenghten/condition your muscles and help you heal quicker as well
the_lissa's Avatar the_lissa 01:56 PM 01-19-2007
Pushing was such a relief to me. I *had* to push. Just follow what you are feeling. Some women don't ever push, they just breathe their baby out.

That was my plan, but I had an overwhelming urge to push, so I did.
sedalbj's Avatar sedalbj 03:11 PM 01-19-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
Well, for my first I did have to push - no one coached me, I *had* to push, like waves of this urge to throw up, only downwards. I remember wondering how people in the birthstories who report "Oh, then they made me wait to push because the OB wasn't there" could DO it - but they're all epiduraled up, I guess...
I labored at home and about 2 mins after we got in the car my body was totally ready to push, but I held it for 20 mins until I was at the birth center (I didn't want to deliver in the car), i think holding it in was harder than pushing it out, it took a lot of concentration to keep her in there! if i had waited much longer, my body would have just done it itself, i am sure.
cottonwood's Avatar cottonwood 04:28 PM 01-19-2007
Well, I did the pushing "like those women on tv" and it was horrible. I pulled muscles, burst blood capillaries on my face. My eyes were bulging out of my head and I felt like I was pushing so hard my internal organs were going to come out with the baby. THAT IS NOT NORMAL AND NOT NECESSARY. With my other births I did instinctive spontaneous pushing -- meaning I allowed the pushing to happen as an involuntary reflex. Basically I just labored until my body made the baby come down. Any pushing I did was completely involuntary -- I couldn't have not done it if I'd tried. Because it was allowed to happen spontaneously, my body was truly ready for it, so second stage was quick in all those births -- not more than 10 minutes. And aside from the ring of fire (which was brief) it felt good.
Vespertina's Avatar Vespertina 06:35 PM 01-19-2007
It was all easy, though pushing went much faster and smoother than I thought it would. With my first, I thought I'd have to push for hours and wasn't looking forward to it. I pushed for 5 minutes. I pushed for less than a minute (4 small pushes) with DD2.
mamabain's Avatar mamabain 07:40 PM 01-19-2007
don't push at all. let your body take over. with my first i pushed 1.5 hours cuz i was 10 cms and that's what you are supposed to do, right? i know that if i had waited, my body would have done it on its own.

with my second, i didn't want to know when i was 10 cms so i wouldn't feel the outside 'pressure' to push. so when my body started pushing, there was nothing i could do to stop it. i could have aided it, by adding force to it but there was no way i could stop. it's like heaving or vomiting, completely involuntary. with second baby, only abou 10 minutes pushing, 3 maybe 4 contractions.
Romana's Avatar Romana 08:00 PM 01-19-2007
I really wish I had had one of those great pushing experiences! I admit it, I'm jealous. I wish I'd had an urge or that my body had just pushed the baby out itself . . . I waited over 7 hrs for that to happen . . . and none of the above.

ARRRRGH I hope my body does a better job next time!!

Julia
dd 10 mos
huggerwocky's Avatar huggerwocky 08:17 PM 01-19-2007
I didn't find it exhausting at all and pushed for 1,5 hours..in the end she just came out by herself....I grunted because my body pushed, not me...press your stomach muscles together and yous see what I mean, you can't talk or anything, just grunt
QueenOfThePride's Avatar QueenOfThePride 08:57 PM 01-19-2007
I never held my breath for pushing. I have some experience weight-lifting, and the mindset is pretty much the same. I breathed and grunted while pushing. I know from athletics that holding your breath while exercizing will not make you stronger, just the opposite. It will just leave you out of breath and weak (starved for oxygen). My noises were from work, not pain. I don't remember it hurting. I didn't break any blood vessels in my eyes or face.

ETA: The contractions hurt, but the baby coming out didn't hurt. The act of pushing didn't hurt. Just my uterus hurt because of contractions.
blastomom's Avatar blastomom 09:05 PM 01-19-2007
I just had a VBAC a week ago and pushing was the easiest part. Three sets of easy pushes and we were done. I'm not in the best shape and was a bit worried that that would negatively affect our birth, but the pushing part went very smoothly.
~*~MamaJava~*~'s Avatar ~*~MamaJava~*~ 09:23 PM 01-19-2007
nak

pushing with the urge was easy and felt great - ring of fire makes you catch your breath but you know you're almost there so it's reassuring too. contrax were far less intense than transition.

pushing w/o the urge is plain old work. won't be doing that again! (just had it with#1).

do NOT push in a position you don't like. i was upright with 2 but wanted to be down with 3, ended up on my side which was perfect - she came out slowly since i didnt push hard.
timneh_mom's Avatar timneh_mom 12:30 AM 01-20-2007
I too felt that pushing was a huge relief. I did have pain down below as my son's head was being born, I'm not going to lie - that part really hurt! But the pushing somehow helped the contraction pain, I was finally able to work with my body and DO something that helped everything feel much better. I'd had an urge to push way too soon, so when I finally could, it was a great relief.

I think my best suggestion would be to push to your comfort. Try to work with your body, push when you feel the need, push as long/hard as is comfortable for YOU. And do try to get gravity on your side! Squatting is great, tires out your legs but it really does help get the baby down!

I know you can do it!!
MidwifeErika's Avatar MidwifeErika 04:15 AM 01-20-2007
With my last birth, I found it much harder to not push than it was to push. I was trying to blow through contractions and at each peak, my body was pushing anyhow and slowly that pushing time became a bit longer and longer until it was the full contraction. Oh, and the ring of fire thing, I didn't even feel it with #3 because I was so caught up in the pushing urge feeling that I couldn't feel anything else. It is intense, but it is a very rewarding part of labor!!

There is such a difference between pushing when told and pushing when your body does it, a HUGE difference in how it feels. With my last birth at one point I was told to go ahead and start pushing.... and it felt so wrong, so wrong... even though my body had been pushing on the peaks of contractions anyhow. So, I was a bit relieved when I was told that DDs head was in a funky position and there was a lip and I needed to instead work through and blow through contractions to give it time to resolve. I instead tried to blow through contractions and wasn't coached to push to counts of 10, which was much nicer.

Don't be afraid! It looks scary because it can be the loudest part and it is physically intense, but it isn't bad. And the part that feels sooooooo good is you know you are really, really, really close to meeting your baby! It is like at that point you know for sure that this labor wasn't a false alarm and everything that you have been waiting for is about to happen in just a matter of moments. It is wonderful!


(oh man, now I think I wanna have another one!)
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