So... Pushing a Baby Out... What's That Like?
Push it, baby, push it
If you've never pushed a human out of your body, it's perfectly normal to have questions. Even if you have pushed a baby out, this time may be different ( no epidural, epidural, etc) so you may have some questions, but let's talk about about all of that.
Pushing for the first time, ever
You are so excited to finally meet your baby, your due date is fast approaching and you one day realize, while sitting in your Childbirth Education Class or talking with a friend, that at the end of labor, comes pushing. What is that like? Is it easy? Will you know when to push? What about the stories of women pushing for hours and hours? Is it true that you can't feel anything to push with an epidural?
First, you won't be alone in this, your Nurses will hop in and out and if you have a Doula, she will be there for you and your partner the entire time. Your time to push will come when you a) have the urge, similar to the urge of a bowel movement or vomiting (lovely, I know) or b) when your baby has labored down farther into the birth canal and you're given word that it's time to start pushing. Once it's time to push, if you have the urge to push, you'll just follow that urge and bear down along with that urge. Your support team will walk you through the contractions that come when your in the second stage of labor (pushing) and through each time you must push.
You will push with your contractions that come, so if you push for thirty minutes, it's not a straight thirty minutes. First timers push on average for 30min-2hours, but ACOG guidelines and research show that laboring down for a few hours before pushing for fist time women and women with an epidural, can reduce pushing time and reduce exhaustion or need for cesarean.
During pushing, rest when you can rest, hydrate, use a cool cloth and know that you're almost ready to hold your baby!
Epidurals will mess up your ability to push and all that...
Well, not so much. The great thing about having a supportive team and nurses is that you can hit 10cm and then allow baby to labor down before needing to push. This can give your epidural some time to wear off to give you a little more control or feel when it is time to push. As always, your team and the staff will help you during pushing. Epidural or not, you may need to let baby labor down further into the birth canal before pushing, this can help shorten your pushing time or make it so that baby handles pushing well.
Pushing with our without an epidural, your first time pushing may be slightly overwhelming for you, but promise, you won't have to do it alone. You can push in ways to help reduce tears and you can rest in-between pushes and know that you will be holding your baby soon!