If you have been following my blog series on Labor and Delivery, you have already read about the 3 different phases of Stage 1 Labor: Latent, Active, Transition). Now I will discuss the happiest stage of Labor - Stage 2 - Delivery!!!!!
What is happening - your contractions have brought you to 10 cm dilation - hooray, it's finally time to push! You may have already been experiencing the urge to push before reaching 10 cm. Some doctors allow you to gently bear down when you feel this to help relieve the urge. Others don't want you to do so. Once you reach 10 cm, you can push all you like! Some doctors, once they discover you are at 10 will tell you to start pushing. Wait until you have the urge to push so you don't wear yourself out! There's not need to hurry the body along as that will only cause fatigue. Your body was made to do this, so follow your body's lead.
What you can do - For effective pushing, sit upright as much as possible. A squatting position is the best. Change pushing positions as frequently as desired to help with head descent. You may experience leg shakes while pushing - this is normal and can be helped with changing positions or simply getting into a squatting position (it can still happen in a squatting position, but it's not alarming if you know it can happen and that it's normal). Forgo the leg stirrups and have your partner, birthing coach, nurse, etc. hold your legs up - this is more comfortable and effective. Remember to keep a relaxed face (easier said than done, but can ensure you are pushing with your perineum like you are having a bowel movement rather than straining with your face muscles to make your pushing effective and prevent swelling and petechiae on your face). If allowed and desired, touch your baby's head when it has crowned to give yourself extra motivation to keep pushing because you are almost done. Ask for a mirror prior to pushing if you desire to see your baby be born.
Natural Solution Ideas
Continue the diffusing blend from phase 3.
Continue the Helichrysum and Frankincense mixture on the perineum. This is especially helpful if you experience the "ring of fire," a burning sensation and/or intense pain as the head crows stretching the vagina.
Inhale Peppermint for open airways and increase energy. Apply to cool washcloth over forehead if feeling hot or place topically or on washcloth at the back of the neck.
To read all posts in this Labor & Delivery & Beyond Blog Series, access the links in this introductory post.
Read more about the Doula Services that Christine Russell, RN offers.