Practices that Promote Healthy Birth !! Get Upright & Follow Your Urge to Push

Ok, ready to push? Bear down, hold your breath: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, and Ten!We've seen this a million times in movies and on TV. A woman lies on her back in a hospital L&D ward in the pushing stage of labor and is bearing down, chin-to-chest and being directed to push for 10 seconds while her partner or care provider (or both) coach her through the process. Well, I'm hear to tell you that it doesn't -- and SHOULDN'T -- be that way!Throughout pregnancy, most women are told not to lie on their backs, but yet, that is the first thing most hospitals do when a woman shows up in labor! On the back is one of the worst positions for labor and birth. The position drastically decreases the size and opening of the pelvis and causes women to work against gravity.Want to understand more about healthy practices for the pushing stage? See here:

click here to watch video

Great video isn't it?  When you are laying down on your back and pushing, it is like you are pushing up hill. It makes pushing and birth harder, and in many cases longer for mothers. Getting up and allowing gravity to assist in the pushing phase is a huge benefit to mothers. Not only is it more comfortable, but it utilizesgravity to help during this phase. Babies are also more likely to show signs of distress if you are laboring on your back, which is one of the reasons health professionals encourage you to stay off of your back during pregnancy!Some of the benefits to upright pushing include :

  • Lessened pain
  • Shorter second stage of labor
  • Less damage to the vagina and perineum
  • Reduction in use of or need for a vacuum assisted delivery
  • Lower number of episiotomies

The second piece to this healthy birth practice is following your urge to push, also known as spontaneous pushing. Pushing when your body tells you that you need to push and following that urge to push is what your body needs to do to birth your baby! By following commands from others on when, how, and how long to push, you will be more likely to tire out faster, as this practice puts undue stress on you and your body.Some of the benefits associated with spontaneous pushing include :

  • Less abnormal fetal heart rate changes
  • Less damage to the perineum
  • Stronger pelvic floor muscles in the months following birth
For the experienced moms out there, what positions worked best for you? What was least effective during the pushing stage?

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