It's one of those components of childbirth that we don't really talk about, but boy is it important!
When working with my labour client's, one of the most common fears that comes up is the pushing stage. But realistically, for most people the pushing stage is actually a relief. It's the first time in a long time that you get to DO something about those contractions. And even more exciting? Most people don't feel the intensity of their contractions when they are pushing! That's right, the adrenaline blocks pain receptors and the sensation of bearing down into those surges actually feels GOOD!
You will likely poop when you push: But! We know that if you're pooping, it's a good sign that you're pushing in the right spot and moving your baby further into the birth canal. Also, your nurse and/or midwife are pretty incredible at getting rid of the evidence and I can assure you that you will be so focused on meeting your baby, that you likely won't know that it happened.
You may tear: it's really normal for birthing people to tear during a vaginal birth. It's not something you will know is happening due to all that adrenaline or pain medication, and it's generally a 1st or 2nd degree tear that heals quickly.
What to expect in the pushing stage:
- when you're ready to push you may feel a pressure in your bum that doesn't go away with the contraction (it feels like you have to have a bowl movement)
- an uncontrollable urge to push
- groans and moans may sound more "grunty" or "pushy"
So how do I do it?
There are many different pushing positions, here are the most common ones:
- laying on your back (generally the only option if you have an epidural)
- side lying
- hands and knees
- in a birth pool (home birth only)
It is important that we avoid the classic "hee hee HOO" that we see if the movies. There are 2 styles that you can use interchangeably or by themsleves. I think it is most important that you listen to your body and do what feels right.
Coached/Directed: deep inhale, hold breathe in and push into bum for 10 seconds during the contraction (repeat x3)
Intuitive: listen to your body, push into bum when you feel the urge
I hope you found this helpful! If you're looking to add a doula to your birth team I'd love to connect. The Doula Tree proudly serves Norfolk County, Brantford, Haldimand County, Oxford County, Hamilton and surrounding areas. Even in the pandemic we are offering in-person and virtual doula support within our local hospitals and at home. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free consultation.