As your pregnancy progresses into the third trimester, you have to prepare for childbirth. It’s good to learn how to push so you know what to expect.
Knowing exactly how to push is one of the biggest concerns for pregnant moms preparing to give birth. They may question their ability and have a false perception of what really happens when the time comes. Science has improved over the years, giving women and babies a better chance during the birthing process. You can learn more about this when you enroll in Lamaze classes, where you can learn how to push efficiently.
Current Evidence on How to Push
Unlike the method of past decades when women were urged to push as soon as they reached dilation of 10 centimeters, current evidence suggests delaying pushing until the woman has the urge. This can benefit the baby as there is less stress on oxygenation and fetal heart rate.
The mother’s position is also important and can aid when it comes time to push. Rather than being in a supine position, being in an upright or lateral position can make it easier. It’s important to avoid having the woman’s legs being pushed against her stomach due to potential tearing of the perineum.
When Does Pushing Occur?
Pushing occurs during the second stage of labor. This is when the cervix is fully dilated to 10 centimeters. The top of the baby’s head should be visible to the doctor and medical staff at this point. Contractions may ease just before you feel the urge to push.
Before you start pushing, as your contractions begin to ease, you should rest. The length of this stage can vary due to the baby’s position and size and your ability to push with your contractions. In most cases, for a first-time mom, it can take one or two hours to push. It can last longer if the mother and baby can withstand it. The baby may have an easier time when facing its mom’s back. If the baby is facing the stomach, it can take longer than two hours to push.
Once you are in the transitional phase of labor, you will feel that your contractions are growing steadily more intense. This occurs so that the baby can be guided further down your cervix. You can expect your water to break during this time as well. This phase can last anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour. You are supposed to be in the birthing position at this time in preparation for pushing. If you choose to have a natural childbirth, it can be painful, but there’s no way to predict how painful it is compared with other moms’ experiences.
Pushing with an Epidural
Giving birth with an epidural is very common. It numbs your body from breasts to knees. As a result, you may wonder how to push your baby out when a large portion of your body feels so numb.
According to a study conducted in 2017, using epidurals delayed pushing to prolong the second stage of labor an extra 56 minutes. With an epidural, your urge to push can be decreased, which allows you to rest. It’s believed to prevent problems like prolonged pushing, fetal distress, maternal exhaustion and malposition of the baby.
Positions to Help Your Labor Along
Before you are ready to push, you must go through labor. You can move it along by assuming certain positions, which also ease your pain:
- Sitting: Sitting backward on a chair or on an exercise ball stretches the pelvis. You should ensure that your knees are four inches lower than your hips.
- All fours: Kneeling on all fours can aid the baby into the right position and relieve your back pain.
- Lying on your left side: When you lie on your left side, it allows the baby to get more oxygen and can ease blood pressure.
- Standing: This helps gravity get the baby in proper positioning.
Changing Positions During Labor
While you are preparing to give birth, it’s essential to change positions to help it along. You should avoid being flat on your back as it can lengthen your labor. You may also be able to avoid needing an episiotomy if you remain upright, which can reduce your pain and quicken your recovery.
Even if you find one position to be more comfortable than the others, it’s essential to keep moving and switching up your positions to encourage your baby to move down into the birth canal.
Once your baby is finally ready, you can begin to push. It won’t be much longer after that you will get to meet your child.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.