Ready to Push
There are a couple things that have to happen to ensure that baby can navigate past the first to the second stage of labor. Too often though, this process is rushed and like most transitions, it can and usually takes time. However, what is happening is as soon as the door closes from Stage 1, the curtain is pulled to Stage 2 and it’s too soon!
Stages of Labor
Before I get too far and throwing around birth talk, let’s quick review. There are 3 Stages of labor (read more here).
1st stage is dilation 0-10 cm and within the first stage are 3 phases
- early labor (to 6 cm); ctx are about 5 mins apart and lasting 30 to 45 seconds
- active labor (to 8 cm); ctx are longer/stronger and about 3 mins apart and lasting over 1 minute
- transition (to 10 cm); ctx are strong and close together
2nd stage is full dilation to pushing to birth of baby!
3rd stage is delivery of placenta
10 cm complete
10 cm and complete means the cervix has opened to 10 cm and has shifted up to allow baby to leave life in the womb to life earthside. What often happens is frequent vaginal exams or cervical checks are being done and as soon as 10 cm occurs, moms are instructed to push right away. However, most times babies aren’t quite ready and are high as far as their station and pushing takes longer than it needs to. Too long pushing can change the course from a vaginal delivery to a cesarean birth.
Urge to Push
No matter how the course of labor goes, whether opting for pain relief through an epidural or a drug-free route, our bodies have an innate ability to push. If given time, this irresistible urge to bear down and push will occur for 3-5 seconds at a time.
When things are taking their grand ol’ time, my greatest recommendation would be changing positions that keep the lower half of the pelvis open to allow baby the most space possible to move down and out. This can certainly shorten the time spent pushing.