Healthy Birth Practice # 5

Avoid Giving Birth on Your Back and Follow Your Body's Urges to Push.

What comes to mind when you think of a woman giving birth? For many parents-to-be who have yet to experience labor, their minds go straight to the TV/Movie version of birth. A mum lying on her back, in pain and screaming, it is easy to think that there is only one way to push during birth—with the woman on her back with her legs propped up, holding her breath and pushing while others count to 10 and coach/ tell her to push harder.

Being upright during the pushing stage of labor not only utilizes gravity to help you, but it is also often less stressful for baby. When you are upright, you tend to get into positions like squatting, which can open your pelvis by as much as 30% more, creating lots of space for baby. 
Upright and gravity-neutral positions are safe during pushing and are often more comfortable than lying on your back. Babies are more likely to show signs of distress when women are flat on their backs while pushing.

Research does not support the widespread practice of directed pushing, which has been shown to stress the maternal cardiovascular system, reduce circulating oxygen, and trigger changes in the fetal heart rate. Women following their own urge to push usually will wait for each contraction to build and then push for about 5 seconds, take a few short breaths, then push again.

When a woman follows her own body during the pushing stage of labor, she is likely to push when she feels a strong urge to do so, and she will hold her breath for only short periods, if at all. This is called “spontaneous pushing.” Pushing when and how your body tells you to means you are pushing just the way you need to give birth to your baby.

Following your own urge to push is less stressful for your baby than directed pushing.

Pushing when and how your natural urge tells you to gives you the best chance of preventing tears, muscle weakness in your pelvis and protecting your pelvic floor after birth.
Using a variety of positions during the second stage of labor (the bearing-down part of labor) helps, you work with your baby as he/she turns and comes down through your pelvis.

Women have an innate ability to give birth!

Want to learn more? Contact us now for more information and to learn more about Birthability Lamaze Childbirth Courses.

Healthy Birth #5