• georgia421

To Push, or not to Push? That is the question...

labour, childbirth, mother, newborn, hypnobirthing
Thanks to the media many parents assume you have to "push" during labour, but that's not always the case. Photo: Claire Saye Photography

I get a lot of questions about this. Once people join my course they come to learn the physiology of labour and birth, and how effectively, your baby makes it's way down the birth canal and that mother's don't necessarily need to push.

"Why is it then, that you hear stories or see films of women pushing in labour?" They ask!

Great question! This is the perfect example of when society has taught us what is normal or not, more than the experience itself.

Firstly, no two births are the same, so I can't make a blanket statement to not push your baby down.

And infact, with Lex (my eldest child) I definitely got the urge to push, infact I couldn't fight it.

But in Hypnobirthing, rather than pushing our baby down we encourage you to hum or breathe your baby out and that's exactly what I did in my second birth, with Sonny.

Yes, I know it sounds a bit 'airy fairy', but bear with me. Humming your baby down follows the body's natural expulsive reflex that will gently nudge your baby down.

There is definitely no need to do lots of forced 'purple faced' pushing. Forced pushing is stressful on both mum and baby, and can infact, slow things down as it closes the sphincters of the vagina ahead of the descending baby. Get that!

Plus, let's face it, pushing like that is overwhelmingly exhausting.

So let's take a look at this natural expulsive reflex then. We use it for birth, but we also use it much more regularly to expel something from our body. You can probably guess what it is...when we poo!!

Think about it, you don't wake up and say to yourself, "Oh I'm going to have a poo this evening, so I'll sit on the loo and push until it comes." No no!! You'll wait for those sensations, that urge, the fullness, or however you feel it. Either way, you feel it, don't you?

It's the same when birthing your baby. You will get a fullness, and bearing down sensation or an urge to push. This is when we encourage you to hum.

Saying that, if you want to push, and that feels good to you, and your instincts are telling you to do that then go with it. I'm not here to tell you there's a right or wrong way.

But there are definitely more favourable, easier ways to birth your baby and purple-faced pushing is not one of them. Nor is lying on your back!

You will find women lying on their back if they have chosen an epidural, and in this case they cannot feel the natural sensations so will need to be guided when to push and will have to push that bit harder.

But if you're upright, forward and open, labouring naturally, then listen to your body and go with it. Let that primal instinct take over you and see how your body and baby really can birth themselves.

If you're labouring well you may just discover one of birth's best kept secrets; the Foetal Ejection Reflex (FER). This term was coined by a biologist in the the Sixties, Niles Newton.

The idea is that when a woman is labouring comfortably and naturally in a quiet, darkened room the Foetal Ejection Reflex is more likely to occur. It's when the 'pushing stage' is really quick, literally a few minutes or less and the mother does not have to make any voluntary effort - her body takes over and literally ejects or expels the baby in one or two quick surges.

Obstetrician Michel Odent further supported the theory, and says women need to lost control of their thinking brain so birth is completely undisturbed, in order for this to happen. However, he says our current approach to birth often sees the mother in a bright, stark room observed by strangers. This makes Foetal Ejection Reflex impossible.

While we may not experience FER ourselves, you can definitely question whether you need a stranger on the sidelines cheerleading you on to "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH."

Just make sure you are aware you can say no, note it down in your birth preferences and understand, as with have a CHOICE.

As for the humming, practise when you're next doing a poo, and you'll find it makes all the difference.

For more top tips and to learn more about the physiology of birth and the impact of fear book a Coaching Call with me or join my Hypnobirthing Course.

Get ready motherhood! For more information on all my upcoming courses, click here.

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I've got you!

Georgia x

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