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  1. #1

    The Second Stage of Labour - Your Experiences

    The second stage of labour is often termed the 'pushing stage' of labour, however, this in itself is debated terminology as some sources (such as Marie Mongan of Hypnobirthing fame) are of the view that women only feel an urge to push when influenced to by their caregivers and surroundings.

    Did you feel an urge to push in the second stage of labour? If so, what did this feel like? Do you feel that it was wholly involuntary or influenced by your midwife or doctor suggesting you should be feeling the urge to push?

    Some women go through a 'resting phase' between the first stage of labour (where the cervix is dilating) and the second stage of labour. In this resting phase, contractions can reduce or even stop completely, temporarily. It is often the case that the baby is re-positioning itself in this resting phase before the actual birthing of the baby. This resting phase also allows a mum time to get some more energy before the second stage of labour.

    Did you experience a resting phase in labour? How long did this last for?

    Many sources such as this midwifery article show that mother-directed pushing (or mother-directed bearing down) is best for mum and baby and ultimately leads to less medical interventions (and the risks associated with these). However, best practice is unfortunately not always followed and coached pushing seems to be more common than is medically necessary.

    Did you use mother-directed pushing, or even no active pushing, during your labour? Did you experience any coached pushing by your midwife or doctor - did you find this helpful or unhelpful?

    We look forward to hearing your experiences of the second stage of labour and helping to support mums-to-be on our forum.

  2. #2
    With my first birth, my baby's heart tones were not recovering fast enough after contractions, so we needed to get her out quickly. I did not feel any urge to push, and my midwife definitely told me to push.

    With my second birth, I'm pretty sure I felt an urge to push with my second baby, though I was encouraged to push before I felt that urge (I think I had a lip that the midwife was holding back, while she told me to push). If I were to do that birth again, I would have waited until my body naturally removed the lip on it's own, and I would have waited for the urge to push before starting to bear down.

    With my third birth, I had the same midwife as the first two, and again, the midwife told me to push before I felt the urge. The problem, for me, is that when I try to push without having the urge, I don't push effectively. So I pushed and pushed, but made no progress. The midwife gave me a homeopathic remedy, and that didn't help. Finally she asked if I wanted to go and sit on the toilet. That's a great position to help baby move down the birth canal. I had been sitting on the floor, with my father supporting me from behind me, and my husband to the side of me. As soon as I got up onto my knees, I felt the urge to push. For me, it was just a matter of position. I needed to be in an upright position so that gravity would help bring baby down, and baby was positioned better.

    My fourth and fifth births were water birth. We had moved, and so I had a different midwife. This midwife was much better about letting the body do what it needs to do, without intervention. There was no prompting to push. I just waited until I had that urge, and then I pushed. By birth #4, I finally realized that waiting for that urge to bear down was the easiest way for me finish labour and be the most rested. It would really tire me out to push and push without my body helping me.

    Here's a beautiful video of an unassisted birth. It is graphic but it is beautiful, as it shows a very natural event (giving birth) in a beautiful, natural rain forest. You will notice that mum says she feels "pushy", and then you will see her do some short grunt pushing before she really bears down to push the head out. I don't have any sense that she had any monitoring, and so nobody would have known when to tell her to "push". She may have checked herself, but by the way she is pushing throughout this 30 minute video (which was shot over more than 30 minutes) I don't get the sense that she had checked herself to know how dilated she was.

    Last edited by 5Homebirths4Kate; 18th February 2014 at 04:21 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Kate. My experience has also been that I can't really push properly until I truly feel the urge to push. When this comes there is no stopping the bearing down!

    Thanks also for sharing this wonderful natural birthing video which shows such a strong urge to push in a completely unmedicalised setting.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

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