If you’re at all like me you might have some fears about pushing out your baby during delivery, especially if you’re going drug-free! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick pushing stage?
I was very nervous about this before I got pregnant, and during the first month or so of my pregnancy, but quickly I learnt more about birth, natural pain remedies, and what I could do to prepare. Every pregnancy is different, just as every woman is different, but my midwife was impressed with my quick pushing stage, and there are a few things she and I can attribute to that.
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I am a warrior! That’s the mindset I had going into my first ever labour. Instead of fearing the pain, or the potential risks, I thought of myself as someone going into battle.
In the Bible, war is often compared to a woman in labour so I took that to motivate me. I am a warrior, and I’m going to kick labour in the butt! Sure it actually kicked me pretty good, but I was pretty determined that I was going to rock labour, and in the end I was going to hold my precious babe in my arms. I have a whole post about how I brought God into my labour which definitely gave me the right mindset. I wasn’t afraid, I knew what was going on, and so when it was time push I was ready to roll!
#2. Pelvic Floor on Point
My midwife attributes my pushing powers to my on-point pelvic floor.
During my pregnancy I made a point to spend at least 20 minutes a day on the exercise ball, and it made a difference! I wasn’t really that faithful until the third trimester, but I followed the instructions for using the ball HERE from Mama Natural and really worked that ball and my pelvis.
Having a strong pelvic floor is a great advantage for you because you need those muscles for the work you are going to do while pushing out that baby! Much like people train for a marathon, I trained for labour! I should do the ball exercises and the pelvic tilts while watching TV in the evening and tried to be as consistent as possible.
#3. Relaxed and Energized
During my 9+ months of hardcore research of all things pregnancy, childbirth and baby, I often came across the concept of relaxing through the pushing stage.
Basically, don’t tense up your entire body, just the part that’s doing the pushing (common tip – it’s like you’re pooping). During my pregnancy, I would practice relaxing my body by focusing on one area of my body at a time to release all the tension so I could learn to relax.
During the time of my pushing though my brain didn’t feel very relaxed! I kept saying, “Brenda, I can’t do this, Brenda!!” (She was my midwife.) I was even thinking that I should have just scheduled a C-section because this was crazy, and she kept telling me the baby was “almost there” and then made me push a lot more. (“Almost there” should just mean one more push, not a million, right?)
Anyways, I had practiced all this relaxing stuff but during my pushing my brain was all wild and crazy, and I assumed I had thrown all that relaxing stuff out the window – but apparently not so! My husband told me that I was actually very relaxed (he knew that was something I should do during pushing). I wasn’t breaking his knuckles by squeezing his hand so hard (now when I got the stitches that’s another story), and I was actually super relaxed without a lot of tension throughout my body. Instead of wasting energy to tense up my body I focused that energy into my uterus to push my baby out in under 40 minutes. Yay me! Now that’s what I call a quick pushing stage!
I also had the energy to do all that powerful pushing, which is impressive considering I woke up 6 am that day to go get induced, and then baby showed up at 3:36 am, so I wasn’t well rested and I had actually walked around all day to get things going. I did make a point of eating a lot, or eating smart I should say. I kept my body fueled up with the energy I needed to keep going. My birth centre provided meals but I also packed smart snacks. I was energized and ready for labour!
#4. A Few More Minor Things
Red raspberry leaf tea bags (also available in pill capsules)[/caption]
Have you heard about drinking red raspberry leaf tea to strengthen your uterus? Not really the thing you hear about if you’re not pregnant I guess. I started drinking it daily in my second trimester to strengthen my uterus for effective contractions during labour.
This is the tea I ordered, and I didn’t mind the taste as a hot tea, or as an iced tea – but I did start to get sick of it towards the end. I had read about it and my midwife suggested it and also to increase the amount towards the end of the pregnancy, which I did. This may have contributed to my overall quick labour for a first time mom, but because I was induced it’s hard to tell. There were some other things I also did during my pregnancy to improve my labor that may or may not have helped me to have an overall better experience
- Drank a lot of water
- Ate dates
- Did Kegels
- Did stretches
What Else Can Decrease Your Pushing Time?
There are three things that I do look back on and wonder if they could have made my labour and delivery even smoother…
#1. Water Birth
I really wanted a water birth, but because my baby came 11 days late it wasn’t safe because of the meconium. I did labour in water though, which kind of helped but because I had back labor it wasn’t really as helpful as I expected. I really hope to have the opportunity one day to give birth in water, I think it would have kept me calmer mentally and more relaxed physically during the pushing stage.
Since I wasn’t giving birth in water I imagined I would give birth in a “fancy” position like on all fours or squatting. I gave birth at a natural birth center that supports this kind of thing, and my antenatal midwife confirmed I could do this, but the midwife who was there that night was new and not quite totally on board yet with the birth center’s philosophies. I ended up having no choice but to give birth on my back – which I absolutely did not want, but at that point, I didn’t have the time or energy to insist on it, but hey that’s why I encourage women to get a doula if they have the opportunity to.
#3. More Exercise!
Like I said, I am not a fitness loving kind of person, although I do dream of one day having visible abs and being able to run 5K. I think I should have exercised more before and during my pregnancy just to have increased my stamina for the whole process, and because I bet I would have had a better postpartum journey if I had been at my fittest. Live and learn right?
I hoped for a quick pushing stage, tried to prepare my body for it and I am LUCKY that I got it!
In a nutshell that’s how I pushed my first baby out in under an hour. My midwife told me it was an impressive time for a first time mom and so I felt like the time I spent during my pregnancy to prepare was worth it. These things definitely aren’t a guarantee for everyone as we all have different bodies, different genetics, different positions of our baby, etc. but I think it’s worth looking into and considering for your own pregnancy.
For me, I made a list of “daily habits” to do every day to make sure I was consistent with the things I mentioned, and I believe it paid off in the end. Pushing out my baby was difficult, and it felt like an eternity but I believed that I was strong and I was. Childbirth can be scary but it’s not meant to be.
You’re going to rock it my fellow warrior women!
As you head into motherhood soon, you might start to think about what kind of parent you’ll be. Explore more here to learn about Gentle Parenting – it might be right for you too.