Managing Transition and Pushing Without Tearing

Pushing your baby without tearing is possible. This information covers getting through transition and pushing your baby out safely and smoothly. It's Part 3 of a three-part series on managing your labor, naturally.

Late Labor and Transition

As your birthing progresses and you enter transition labor gets very intense. You can do it!  Women throughout time have done this work, and so can you!

Don't try to escape. Trying to get away from the contractions doesn't help your labor! But when they're coming fast and hard you might need help to remember to breathe and go with the flow.  It's okay 🙂 (Dad, here's another great time for you to help!)

Look in your coach's eyes and let him/her ground you through your contractions. You can hold your partner's hand, or feel his strong body supporting you. If you and your coach have practiced birth skills throughout your pregnancy, you'll be able to work together and get through your labor.

Feel the love of those around you. It helps.

Swaying and rocking are especially helpful as you move through transition. You may want to rock back and forth on all fours. A birth ball is handy.  Spiraling your hips is also a helpful way to deal with all the energy coursing through your body.

Talk to your baby and encourage him or her to come out.

It's normal to feel “I can't do it!” at this point. You can do it – you are doing it. Your body is strong, and all you have to do is be soft and open for your baby.  You're able.

Nausea or vomiting is a normal sign of transition. It may be just what you need to open the rest of the way for your baby. It's not pleasant (I've been there!) but you generally feel better almost instantly.

Go with your body, move, moan.  Be grateful for your support and feel the love surrounding you. Natural childbirth is a wonderful, but labor may be hard. Prepare yourself for it.

If you're prepared, you're free to trust your body, trust your baby, and trust birth.

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

Pushing Your Baby Out

Forget the movies and TV shows you've seen with women pushing in stirrups with veins bulging and nurses screeching “1, 2, 3, 4…”

Your body knows just how to push your baby out. And it's most likely going to do that all on its own without any directions from anybody. You need to let your body tell you what to do if you want pushing without tearing!

When you dilate fully and your body is ready, your contractions will change. You'll start to feel an involuntary urge to push.  Some women love to push. It gives relief to be actively birthing their babies after the hard work of dilation. Other women find that the strength of pushing is overwhelming.

An attendant can support your perineum with warm compresses so your baby is birthed gently.

Your coach or nurse can help you breathe calmly during pushes. I really liked this kind of guidance during my labors. Your breath may naturally “catch” during pushes, and you can breathe slowly and deeply between.

You'll normally get a minute or two between each pushing contraction. Your baby takes “two steps forward and one step back.” This may seem discouraging, but your baby is being born — gently. The more time your tissues have to stretch, the better, because you're more likely to get through the pushing stage without tearing.

If you're having a waterbirth, the water will help to support your perineum and let your tissues stretch around your baby's head. Warm water also helps keep your tissues soft.

Lying flat on your back with your legs in stirrups is almost the worst position for birthing. Stand up if you feel like it – it can help your baby descend (though baby may come fast this way – kneel or squat if you're worried about tearing). Squatting can open your pelvis up more and gives your baby more room to pass through. Hands and knees can also widen your pelvic outlet.

You may want to hold onto a soft rope or a “birthing bar” (a bar built into some birth center and hospital labor beds) as you bear down. Sometimes having attendants push the tops of your hips inward helps widen the opening.

Breathing gently and working with your body are still keys in the second stage. Your uterus pushes your baby down. Your baby has a reflex to push off from your uterus as he or she moves through the birth canal. Your body and baby work together to get baby out during the pushing stage! Go at their pace to avoid tearing and exhaustion 🙂

The Placenta

The hard part is over! You have your prize. Bring your baby right up to your chest and let him or her begin nursing. Some babies will just want to gaze at you. The movements of your baby and his or her suckling stimulate your uterus to contract.

As your uterus continues to contract the placenta shears off from the uterus. Don't let anyone pull on the cord! It's also best not to cut the cord – this means all the blood from the placenta has time to move into your baby.

Your placenta will come out on its own. You'll feel contractions again and maybe a little urge to push. You can try and push the placenta out from a semi-recline with your baby. Or you can let an attendant hold your baby while other attendants support you as you squat and deliver the placenta.

This is not hard after a natural birthing and not at all painful. The placenta has no bones! It will slip right out. It's a wonderful feeling – you are completely done! Congratulations Mama! Sit back and enjoy your new baby.

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

Click here to read Part 1 | Click here to read Part 2

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