Push your baby out!
Am I doing it?
Does this sound familiar? It doesn’t have to. In fact, birth will actually happen even if NO ONE SCREAMS ANYTHING AT YOU WHILE YOU DO IT!
Knowing that we are fully dilated (10cm) isn’t always the best news of the day. When giving birth in a hospital, we are often given the impression that 10 centimeters dilated means we made it, we’re complete. We are ready to push. Our cervix is completely out of the way and now we can simply, push our baby out. Lol, yea, right… Anyone who pushed for 2, 3 or 4+ hours would disagree with this.
The truth is, 10cm is part of the process. It’s an important part of the process BUT it is just one part!
Continuing to labor or as they say, “breathing the baby down” will decrease your pushing time dramatically. Think about it… if you poop every morning after drinking a cup of coffee and Tuesday morning, you wake up and drink a cup of coffee but don’t feel like you have to poop, you can sit on the toilet and push all day… if you don’t feel like you have to poop, YOU’RE RIGHT! No one screaming, “push! You drank the coffee, you’re ready! Push!” is going to get you to push a poop out! As we know, the best way to poop, is to wait until you feel the “I have to poop” sensation, go somewhere private (preferably the bathroom) drop your pants and poop.
The same can be said for pushing a baby out of your vagina. You are not required to push just because you are 10cm dilated. Let your body and your baby work together. Don’t hold yourself accountable to your cervical dilation and don’t let anyone else hold you accountable to it. Only have cervical exams when you are curious about your dilation. If your doctor wants to know what your cervix is doing and you don’t. You have a choice! You can say, no thank you, I prefer not to have an exam. You can say, I don’t mind having an exam but I do not want to know your findings and I don’t want your findings to impact my process. You can say, I’d love an exam, I can’t wait to hear what you find! You can say anything YOU want! It’s your cervix and your vagina that is being examined.
The reason for this post is that after attending birth after birth after birth, I am certain that women who push when their bodies tell them to have a much easier time giving birth then women who are instructed to push based on the findings of a vaginal exam. There are of course, exceptions to every rule but when a woman’s body is urging her to push and that woman does what her body tells her to do, birth feels completely normal, safe and fueled by the inner strength of the mother. When the mother is examined, determined to be fully dilated and coached by all of the people in the room to, “PUSH, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!” That woman can seem confused. She often asks if she’s doing it right and self doubt can start to creep in.
This Doula longs for a day when ALL women feel empowered and confident during and after their births, regardless of the type of birth they choose or the type of birth that becomes medically necessary!
During birth (and life), allow your inner voice to guide you!
As Robert Plant of Led Zepplin sings in the song, Stairway To Heaven...
“And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last...
Authored by: The Rock n' Roll Doula