I came across this article while browsing the web. It gives some great advice/instructions on how to push when delivering your baby. It also recommends practicing pushing while pregnant so that pushing when you’re in actual labor becomes 2nd nature.
I thought posting this would be helpful for my fellow prego readers. Enjoy!
The belly press is an ideal strengthening exercise for prenatal abdominals that is also a component of the coordinated push. This exercise can be executed in a standing or sitting position; however, many women find that they are most comfortable completing this exercise while leaning into a supported stability ball or pillows.
Inhale deeply, allowing your lower abdominals to rise. If you are having difficulty isolating your abdominal area, you may want to place your hands on your abdomen so that you can actually see your belly rise. Now press your navel to your spine, causing a slow, forced exhalation. Continue the press until you have no more air to exhale, and hold the contraction for several seconds. Take another abdominal breath and repeat the exercise. Concentrate on the intensity of each belly press rather than on the number of repetitions. Simply perform enough repetitions to cause a slight fatigue in your abdominal area.
Pelvic Floor Primer
The third element of coordinated pushing requires that you learn to relax the muscles of your pelvic floor (the “Kegels”). Since Kegels typically provide support for the bladder and prevent urine leakage, these muscles are usually somewhat contracted throughout the day. Typically, we think of releasing the Kegels only when we are eliminating. While pushing, however, Kegel relaxation will allow the baby to pass through the birth canal with the least amount of resistance. In addition to shortening the pushing stage of delivery, women who have learned to relax their pelvic floor experience a lower incidence of perineal tears and episiotomies and may experience less pain during delivery.
To perform a basic Kegel, draw in the muscles of your vagina as though you are holding in urine. Hold the contraction for several seconds, and then concentrate on completely relaxing your pelvic floor. You will want to use the restroom before practicing this exercise!
Putting It All Together
Now that you know the elements of this more efficient pushing technique, you’ll want to spend time practicing so that it will be second nature when the time to push actually arrives.
•Inhale deeply, allowing the air to fill your abdomen. During actual pushing, you should begin the inhalation at the beginning of a contraction.
•Now exhale, contracting your navel to your spine. Imagine that your exhalation and belly press are gently pushing your baby into the birth canal. It may help to drop your chin and allow your spine to fall into a C-curve. During the real pushing process, you may find it helpful to grunt or otherwise vocalize during the exhalation. Hold the contraction for several seconds at the end of each press. During actual pushing, you may need to repeat the abdominal breathing and belly press several times during each of your body’s natural contractions.
•As you are contracting your abdominal muscles, completely relax your pelvic floor. This is the most difficult part of the coordinated push since we typically tighten our Kegel muscles during exertion. It may help to relax your legs and buttocks as well.
The coordinated push takes practice, but it is frequently advocated by midwives and perinatal fitness instructors, because it less strenuous for the mother and baby. Furthermore, it can be performed in any number of birthing positions.