Cervical Lip - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In all my reading, the thing that I'm most concerned about at this point (28 weeks) is a cervical lip. Everything else, I've read about how to handle and am confident.

But I've never been good at feeling my cervix - we did FAM, and I was never sure of what I was feeling. So I don't know if I'll even know what a cervical lip feels like if I'm having trouble, much less be able to "push it out of the way" ... Everything I've read makes it sound so easy, but I'm completely clueless!

How often does this actually happen? It seems like every 3rd story I read mentions a lip, extreme pain and labor stall, baby not coming out with pushing, and either a doc/midwife or the mom herself pushing it out of the way. I'm concerned if I end up with a lip, I won't know it and will end up with cervical swelling or something.

Any advice/reassurances?
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#2 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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And what do all those stories have in common? Someone putting their hand in a woman's vagina. If you don't do cervical checks, you don't get "cervical lip". I don't believe in CL. I get blasted for it every time I say it but I just don't. All it means is there's a small part of a woman's cervix still to completely dilate. It's not a steel band of cervix that is pathologically dangerous and pressing on her baby's head causing damage and halting "progress" (another term I intensely dislike). Birth is a lot more clever than this. If we were required to have a hand in our vaginas for birth or we'd die, a hand would have evolved in our pelvises for just such an occasion. If you're listening to your body, and in a UC you should have nothing stopping you from being so far in your body that it will be happening regardless, you will move, dance, sing, sway and cook cakes according to need. Hands do not belong in vaginas. No way. No how. And I refuse to add some dinky disclaimer about emergencies because that's dumb and should go without saying.
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#3 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think what scared me the most was I'm pretty sure one of the stories I read WAS a UC, and the woman was having a lot of trouble, things were taking longer than she was comfortable with, and (I'm not sure) she ended up transferring and the docs pushed a lip out of the way. I could be mixing up my tales, but I am almost positive I read it in a UC story.

I appreciate your confidence, though. That's kind of how I feel about it - that my body knows what it's doing and I won't push or have an urge until I'm ready... but then I read some of these stories and they shake my confidence. Thanks for your input (I'm off to read the stories in your siggie now. )
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#4 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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A woman that doesn't have scar tissue or other cervical trauma to start with usually has no issue with a cervical lip if given enough space and time. I have seen women have a cervical lip connected with fear or not good baby position though so while I agree with Janet on what belongs in that place, I think it does happen. Not nearly as often as we would think given hospital statistics and stories (ugh), but there you go.

So as for what to do about it if it happens to you - I would know what homeopathics work for that and then relax. IF you're in that position, and in labor you end up with cervical swelling, you can go to hands and knees and breathe through ctx. and after a length of time the swelling will go down. I would be surprised if listening to your instincts would still lead you to dealing with this - but it's wise to be prepared all the same I believe.

Good luck!

Mama to 4 amazing little people, another little expected 3/6/12!
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#5 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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I had "lips" with the three babies I had an attendant at.

Do you know HOW I knew I had a lip? I had an urge to push and someone stuck their hand in my vagina and said "oh, you have a lip of cervix in the way, let me push it back over the babies head" and then they gave me "permission" to push.

Sad to say I took that fear into my UC. It was my ONLY fear (and I think I even posted about it here at one point). When I felt the sort of urge to push for two hours with no baby, I was convinced I had a lip, even though I couldn't feel any cervix. I made DH check me (boy was he THRILLED, let me tell you!) and he couldn't feel anything at all. No head, no lip.

I was so freaked out I got ready to transport. Then she came flying out of my (well) dialated cervix before we could even get done calling the OB's office.

I won't be worrying about it this time.
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#6 of 30 Old 10-23-2007, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANK YOU! I think this is what I needed to hear - be patient, be calm, and let your body do its thing. These stories have had me about convinced that if you have a lip, you CAN'T birth the baby without getting it out of the way. I don't know why I couldn't brush that off as so much bunk.

But you ladies have reassured me. Thanks so much!
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#7 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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It's helpful, IME, to look at why we are tipped into fear by something like that. I think a fear or worry response is a useful way to access emotional stuff that we might not otherwise be able to find in ourselves. There's a thread in Birth Professionals where I posted a lot about trusting birth and how that doesn't mean nothing ever goes wrong even in optimal circumstances, it means that like life, birth sometimes has curved balls in it. Figuring out what tips us off into fear can be a way of tackling much larger issues in our internal landscape around birth.
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#8 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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Eh, I have no problem with a woman being friendly with her yoni...

I've had lips, and I knew I had them because I wanted to push, but it hurt *really bad* to push. A quick check inside and sure enough I wasn't dialated. But I don't think pushing on undialated cervixes is the way to fix the problem - at least it never worked for me. Bettter to position changes to get the baby better aligned, so the cervix will dialate more evenly. Sometimes getting on your side with a pillow between your legs and letting the baby come off the cervix a bit helps lessen the premature pushing urge and gives the cervix time to straighten out. I've felt the desire to lay down instinctually, but overrode it, because I thought that wasn't "right".
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#9 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So what you're saying is, "listen to your body, don't do what hurts" ??? Why didn't I think of that?! : Thanks!
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#10 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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I dont push. period. Twice now I have uc'd without any problem. Although I'm sure someone would have thought of something that was going wrong if I'd let them into my birth space.

Nobody checked me, and I did not push either time until the baby was in the process of being born without me. Once I can touch the head with my hands (not sticking them up in my stuff either) then I have pushed the body out. I could have had a lip, or any number of things, but I didnt worry about it because I didnt know about it, and I just trusted my body to do what I needed it to do.
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#11 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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Any advice/reassurances?[/QUOTE]

I have'nt announced it yet, but I had my UC on the 20th. Have'nt posted it yet because I wanted to get my story wrote up first, anyway I felt the need to respond to this since I was experiencing this just a few days ago.
Transition hit like a ton of bricks and I had an extreme pressure and pain that lasted for a good three hours, I was to the point I could'nt take it anymore and was losing all confidence in myself. I had my husband check me because I figured better he stick his fingers in me than running me to the hospital and having strangers do it because I was freaking out. My water still had not broken at this point and the pressure would not ease up no matter what postition I went to. My husband said it felt like there was a bit of cervix in the way. So I don't know if the pain and pressure was from the cervix or the pressure of my water having not broken yet, but regardless he said the baby was moving down so I began to push with the contractions, even though I did'nt really have an urge to. I kept praying and waiting for that darn urge like I had so wanted but it just was'nt happening, (never had an urge with my last two either).
It hurt like hell to push but at the same time felt better, if that makes sense. I got into the birthing pool and got on my hands and knees instinctually, (I had'nt planned on birthing in this postion but it felt like the right thing to do at the time), and she was out in 3 pushes. So I am glad I had my husband check and decide to push instead of continueing to freak out and not know what was going on in there. Oh, and my water finally broke after giving a good push right before she crowned. So I don't know if I did the right thing, reading other people's responses, but it felt right at the time.

Rebecca
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#12 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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This thread reminds me of this article I read not too long ago

Excerpt:
Quote:
"When a first-time mother says, "I have to push!" begin to observe her for external signs rather than do an internal exam. Reassure her that gentle, easy pushing is fine and she can "Listen to her body." No one ever swelled her own cervix by gently pushing as directed by her own body messages. The way swollen cervices happen is with directed pushing (that is, being instructed by a midwife or physician) that goes beyond the mother's own cues. It has become the paranoia of North American midwifery that someone will push on an undilated cervix. Relax, this is not a big deal, and an uncomfortable pelvic exam at this point can set the birth back several hours. The external signs you will be looking for are as follows:"
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/pushing.asp
hope that helps!
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#13 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 10:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by joliara View Post
So what you're saying is, "listen to your body, don't do what hurts" ??? Why didn't I think of that?! : Thanks!
DOOOOOOOODE, totally!

That goes for labor positions too, you know! :

I remember once reading a birth story (recently, actually) where Mama was talking about how she just could have never had her baby without drugs. When asked about her birth, she was flat on her back in bed. The only time she got "relief" is when she got up to go to the bathroom. Now, why didn't she refuse to get back in the bed to avoid the pain rather than jamming a cath in her spine? :
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#14 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 11:20 PM
 
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I had a lip. I believe I got it from pushing to soon before my cervix was ready to have that much pressure pressed upon it. It got so swollen that it actually came down to my yuhoo's opening. Dh said it looked like a peice of liver. Purpley red. I placed myself in several positions (mostly hands and knees tush up high) and listened to my body but I think the damage was already done. (I thought the urge to push was listening to my body) I was still able to have a successful vaginal birth. I guess I just needed to take my time and not rush things.

I posted a thread about this issue and got a lot of helpful feedback:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=765338
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#15 of 30 Old 10-24-2007, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a lip. I believe I got it from pushing to soon before my cervix was ready to have that much pressure pressed upon it. It got so swollen that it actually came down to my yuhoo's opening. Dh said it looked like a peice of liver. Purpley red. I placed myself in several positions (mostly hands and knees tush up high) and listened to my body but I think the damage was already done. (I thought the urge to push was listening to my body) I was still able to have a successful vaginal birth. I guess I just needed to take my time and not rush things.

I posted a thread about this issue and got a lot of helpful feedback:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=765338

Ohh, yeah! I think your thread was actually the one that scared me! SO many women saying it had happened to them and they had to have someone push the lip out of the way. I was like, "um... what do I do?!" Hopefully my body doesn't try to trick me and I don't have the urge to push until my boy's ready to come out.
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#16 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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I think one of my issues with pushing was I was too "in my head" about what was going on and not just chilling out and listening to my body. I've always had issues surrounding pushing. Maybe because my first two births had such dramatic and traumatic second stages? I tend to sort of sqeeze my mental eyes shut and think "alright, let's get this OVER WITH" instead of going with the flow of whatever is happening.
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#17 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 10:23 AM
 
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Both my labors I got the "learning opportunity" to see what it feels like to push when it is unproductive, and what it is like to push at the proper time. I can't not push when it is truly the time - I can feel the baby moving, and I have had an undeniable urge to push along. But earlier in the labors I felt that I wanted to push, but when I did it didn't feel right at all - that is the time when I was better off getting reclining, even though I felt external pressure do to the good "natural labor" thing and walk, squat, etc.
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#18 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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And what do all those stories have in common? Someone putting their hand in a woman's vagina. If you don't do cervical checks, you don't get "cervical lip". I don't believe in CL. I get blasted for it every time I say it but I just don't. All it means is there's a small part of a woman's cervix still to completely dilate. It's not a steel band of cervix that is pathologically dangerous and pressing on her baby's head causing damage and halting "progress" (another term I intensely dislike). Birth is a lot more clever than this. If we were required to have a hand in our vaginas for birth or we'd die, a hand would have evolved in our pelvises for just such an occasion. If you're listening to your body, and in a UC you should have nothing stopping you from being so far in your body that it will be happening regardless, you will move, dance, sing, sway and cook cakes according to need. Hands do not belong in vaginas. No way. No how. And I refuse to add some dinky disclaimer about emergencies because that's dumb and should go without saying.
Nice theory, except that during my UC I got to transition (lasted 20-30 min), had a short slow down (ctx 5 min apart for about 30 min), my water broke, ctx again 2 min apart, and then that lasted for . . . seven more hours. I had no pushing urge during that time at all. The contractions were very strong, painful, intense, and there was tons of pressure (felt like transition), but I never had a pushing urge. When I finally transferred to the hospital, the doctor checked me, said there was a lip of cervix, pushed the lip out of the way, and I was told I could push. I pushed for 25 min and my baby was born.

It's all well and good to "not believe" in cervical lips - until you have one! Then it's a tad more complicated. There is another UC mama here who has experienced a cervical lip as well with one of her UC births. I can't imagine what was impeding birth for over 7 hours during my labor, at that stage, except for the cervical lip that was found and moved by the doctor.

I could have, and perhaps would have *eventually* pushed past the lip rather than died while stuck at 9+. But all I knew at the time was something wasn't right and I'd waited a very long time for it to resolve itself, so I went to the hospital, and once it was out of the way it wasn't long before my dd was born.

I had a totally uninhibited UC (labor, since obviously I transferred at the very end) and spent time in many positions, and listened to my body, etc. and the lip did not resolve itself and the baby did not appear.

Not bashing you, since you're entitled to your opinion - just commenting to provide another perspective for the OP.
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#19 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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It seems like every 3rd story I read mentions a lip, extreme pain and labor stall, baby not coming out with pushing, and either a doc/midwife or the mom herself pushing it out of the way. I'm concerned if I end up with a lip, I won't know it and will end up with cervical swelling or something.
You are reading the wrong stories!

I'm not worrying about that... I figure if you have a cervical lip, your body's not going to be giving you the push signal. Follow your instinct, forget about medical mumbo jumbo!
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#20 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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I think what scared me the most was I'm pretty sure one of the stories I read WAS a UC, and the woman was having a lot of trouble, things were taking longer than she was comfortable with, and (I'm not sure) she ended up transferring and the docs pushed a lip out of the way. I could be mixing up my tales, but I am almost positive I read it in a UC story.
You may be thinking of mine, although it's not the only one. My story isn't up anymore though, because I was receiving harassing PMs. Total labor was 21 hours; I was home for 19 of those (then in the car for 1 . . . spent less than 1 hr in the hospital before baby was born). First 13 hours were nice, normal, enjoyable early and active labor. Last 8 hours were transition/lip/pushing (but only 25 min of pushing).

ETA: If it happened again during a UC, I would wait at least a few hours for a pushing urge, then do a cervical self-exam, possibly ask my dh to do one also if I was having trouble. I would push a lip out of the way if I found one. I would also try pushing without a pushing urge if I'd waited 2-3 hours.
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Any advice/reassurances?[/QUOTE]


I just found this article: http://www.radmid.demon.co.uk/cervixlip.htm
very interesting

I wish I had read this ahead of time. I was prepared for everything else but for some reason a cervical lip never crossed my mind, but now I see that is deffinetely what I had and I pushed anyway, yikes. Does anyone know if that can do damage to your cervix? I want to kick myself now.

Rebecca
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#22 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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And what do all those stories have in common? Someone putting their hand in a woman's vagina. If you don't do cervical checks, you don't get "cervical lip"... If we were required to have a hand in our vaginas for birth or we'd die, a hand would have evolved in our pelvises for just such an occasion.
LOL Janet, I love you, whoever you are!

If you are as sarcastic as me, I think you'd enjoy my blog. http://pullingdaisies.blogspot.com
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#23 of 30 Old 10-25-2007, 11:44 PM
 
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You may be thinking of mine, although it's not the only one. My story isn't up anymore though, because I was receiving harassing PMs. Total labor was 21 hours; I was home for 19 of those (then in the car for 1 . . . spent less than 1 hr in the hospital before baby was born). First 13 hours were nice, normal, enjoyable early and active labor. Last 8 hours were transition/lip/pushing (but only 25 min of pushing).

ETA: If it happened again during a UC, I would wait at least a few hours for a pushing urge, then do a cervical self-exam, possibly ask my dh to do one also if I was having trouble. I would push a lip out of the way if I found one. I would also try pushing without a pushing urge if I'd waited 2-3 hours.
You are kidding me?! What is it w/some people and censorship?
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#24 of 30 Old 10-26-2007, 12:02 AM
 
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LOL Janet, I love you, whoever you are!

If you are as sarcastic as me, I think you'd enjoy my blog. http://pullingdaisies.blogspot.com
I'm the National Convenor of the Australian homebirth network and thanks I blog as well but you know that from my sig, I hope.


I never said I haven't had a lip of cervix left to dilate at a birth. Actually I have but I only know that because I had a mw and was being given VEs.
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#25 of 30 Old 10-26-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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THANK YOU! I think this is what I needed to hear - be patient, be calm, and let your body do its thing. These stories have had me about convinced that if you have a lip, you CAN'T birth the baby without getting it out of the way. I don't know why I couldn't brush that off as so much bunk.

But you ladies have reassured me. Thanks so much!
yes, if you get a cervical lip the BEST thing you can do is RELAX, breathe, and know it will be over soon. i got a cervical lip with my dd and i think it was a combination of exhaustion leading to fear and from sitting on the toilet for to long. my whole vagina was really swollen from that. looking back, i didn't know what a cervical lip was until i had it, but i think it was also related to my fears tied with pain. kwim?
my mom got a cervical lip with her last (5th homebirth) and the mw held the lip over and actually really damaged her cervix.
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#26 of 30 Old 10-26-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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A bit OT, but this, from the UK midwives archives link provided above
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Experience over the last five years of independent practice has led me now to discourage women from pushing on an anterior lip. In every case where they have pushed too soon, they have pushed for an hour or more without any progress, and ended up dispirited and tired.
is I think a large part of the "problem" with premature pushing urges, in that some people think "listening to your body" means not just listening to your body, but also interpreting what it's telling you based on preconceived notions about how birth is supposed to happen, and acting on that. So you have a woman feeling pressure that wants to be relieved, and she decides that it means that it's time to begin working on getting the baby out, so she pushes like crazy, and when the baby doesn't move down it's supposedly because her body has deceived her. It never seems to occur to anyone that perhaps it wasn't her body that was wrong -- but rather her mental interpretation of the information her body was giving her, and her assumptions about what that meant she needed to do.

If I have body awareness, I can feel when my body needs me to turn over in the middle of the night, and I do so without thinking about it; it's just automatic. I don't wake up and say to myself, "Well, everybody knows that sensation means it's time to get out of bed, so I'd better get out of bed." I mean, that's absurd, right? But we do that with birth. We "wake up" and decide to act in a nonsensical way based on common belief, and then call it "instinct" and "listening to our bodies".

As to whether management of cervical lips is ever appropriate... even if we do our best to let our bodies function as well as they are capable, that doesn't mean that what the body is autonomously capable of is going to be what we would like it to be. Intervention can sometimes relieve suffering, and it can sometimes speed up the process. There can really be no debate about that. And like everything else in birth, it's for the mother and no one else to decide what value that has for her.

As to whether it's ever necessary (outside of cases of disease or congenital malformation or injury) -- I can't logically figure how a healthy body with an ideal psychological state and undisturbed environment would suddenly become dangerously dysfunctional only at the point of the cervix. To me it looks very much like any other "failure" of the body that involves not progressing according to a perceived "normal" or desired rate.
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#27 of 30 Old 10-26-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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Very insightful, Fourlittlebirds.
I Can't say I have ever had this issue because I never really allow anyone to check me internally during birth, but I do know that you should stop worrying. Just listen to your body like everyone else says, and do what is right and comfortable for you!
I can't say I ever really "push". I just let my body work and push the baby out on it's own. All I concentrate on is my breathing and the rest just takes over.
I'd like to say that I absolutely hate those 'baby story' shows(not mentioning any names) because they all show the same thing, mother in excruciating pain, given drugs, flat on her back, everyone telling her when to push, when to stop, etc. It drives me crazy!!! why can't they ever show normal, natural, free births? It is these shows that give women fear about childbirth and the notion that it is so painful that they need drugs and someone else telling them what to do. I guess when you and your baby are drugged up, you don't know what you are doing and NEED someone telling you to tuck your head and push. This is all so absurd that I need to stop before I REALLY get agitated!!:

JUST LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. IT KNOWS WHAT TO DO, and so does your baby. Let go of the fear and you will be fine!
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#28 of 30 Old 10-26-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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If during labor you are concerned about it, it would be fairly simple to feel around for one. When I started pushing (well, when mild throwing-down like urges started), I reached inside and felt the baby's head, not to "check dilation" or "feel for a lip," but just for the sheer coolness of the experience. I felt a tiny teeny flat lip of anterior cervix, about as thick as the neck of a t-shirt, and I was like, "wow, cool, just like it's supposed to feel when you're almost totally dilated!" I knew that I was almost done dilating and didn't worry about a lip and then soon enough crazy pushing urges hit me and I was good to go.

A real cervical lip--the nasty icky swollen kind--would be very noticeable and, like others have said, would hurt.like.crazy to push on. So basically if all is going well, don't even fret about it. If, and only if, you're having crazy pushing urges but it doesn't feel right (and mind you, my pushing hurt like no one's business but I never felt like anything was wrong) then you could always feel around. Plus it's just so neat to feel the baby's head!
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#29 of 30 Old 10-27-2007, 04:26 AM
 
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I've had three births (two minimally "attended" and one not), and never had anybody checking for dilation...so maybe I had a lip? Maybe I didn't? All I know was, at some point, there was NO resisting, no thinking - just pushing! It was simply happening...and by golly - the babies all came out

Midwife and mama in the Valley of the Sun
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#30 of 30 Old 10-27-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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Quote:
As to whether it's ever necessary (outside of cases of disease or congenital malformation or injury) -- I can't logically figure how a healthy body with an ideal psychological state and undisturbed environment would suddenly become dangerously dysfunctional only at the point of the cervix. To me it looks very much like any other "failure" of the body that involves not progressing according to a perceived "normal" or desired rate.
Yes!

Quote:
some people think "listening to your body" means not just listening to your body, but also interpreting what it's telling you based on preconceived notions about how birth is supposed to happen, and acting on that.
And a HUGE YEAH with cheerleaders attached to that one! That's it! Yes! Thanks
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