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9 Labor & Delivery Pushing Tips

Learn some labor and delivery pushing tips from childbirth expert Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach in this Howcast video. Thumbnail: labor by koadmunkee

Transcript

The key to pushing is really positioning and how you're positioned in order to give birth to your baby. Some great positions to use for pushing are side lying, so lying on your side and allowing your leg to come up. What you're doing in lying on your side is allowing your pelvis to open in as many different ways as possible.

What you don't want to be doing for pushing and delivering your baby is lying flat on your back. This really makes your body work against gravity. What you need to remember with pushing is that you want gravity to be your friend. So, you want to keep in mind using as many upright positions as possible.

You also want to remember that the pushing stage of labor can take a while. For a first time mom it can take anywhere from ten or twenty minutes up to three or four hours. The most important thing to remember is that if mom and baby are doing fine there is no reason to intervene.

Another thing to think about when thinking about tips for pushing is you want to wait until your body feels the urge to push. Just because your cervix is dilated to 10 centimeters doesn't necessarily mean that it's the time to push your baby out. Remember, the baby has to get station minus 3 to station plus 3 before your baby is ready to be born. So wait for your body to feel that urge. Trust this process. Know that your body will tell you what to do.

If you've had an epidural for pain management you want to do something called laboring down. This is when you allow the baby to come down to the plus 3 station right before crowning, and you wait until the baby has come down to that place before you start pushing. Sometimes when you have an epidural your body doesn't feel the physical sensation or that urge to push. That's why you want to practice the laboring down technique.

Another really great position to use for pushing is to be on your hands and knees. You can be on your hands and knees in the bed or on the floor if you're having a home birth, in the hospital bed at the birth center or at the hospital. In the hospital the bed can be adjusted in a variety of different ways. You can move the back of the bed up and lean over the back of the bed with a pillow here to rest on so that you can utilize the upward force and the gravity as your friend to help bring the baby down.

Another great tip for pushing is to utilize something called the squat bar or the birthing bar. This is an actual bar that comes and attaches into the side of the hospital bed. What you would do is you use the bar to support your weight. You hold onto it and you put your feet flat onto the hospital bed so that you're in a squatting position. Another thing you can do with the birth bar is tie a sheet to it so you can use the sheet to hold on to for balance as you find yourself in a squatting position.

One thing to think about when pushing is to really trust your body and know that your body knows exactly how to do this. While pushing it's important to remember that there are a variety of different ways to push, and that it can take a long time. Just allow it to take as long as it needs to in order to deliver your baby. One thing to remember is that there are a lot of things that can help you with pushing. Sometimes your medical support team or your labor companion will count from one to ten in order to help you with pushing. This can be effective and helpful for some but not for all. So, if it's not working for you let them know. Remember, communication is key.

And these are some helpful tips for successfully pushing and delivering your baby.

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