The labor process can be an intense and emotional time. So many things are happening, new sensations and emotions can arise at the same time you’re trying to tune everything out to let your baby out! I remember during my first labor experience, I went in feeling prepared and confident, but things happened a lot differently than I thought. Even though I’m a PT and thought I knew what to do, in the moment when it came time to push I froze and completely forgot all of my preparations for helping my body “push” my son out. Reflecting back, I realized I was fighting my body’s natural instincts and working against the natural laboring process. I’m hoping this blog will give some helpful info to better understand labor and how you can work with your body to assist this amazing process!
During labor, our uterus is able to push the baby out using its own contractions. The uterus contracts from the top down, which increases pressure on the cervix. When baby’s head is in the optimal position, this causes the cervix to thin and widen during each contraction. You might then wonder, if the uterus is able to do this on its own, then what is my role during labor?
We are often told to hold our breaths and push as hard as we can, which is helpful in emergency situations, but may not be the most optimal technique. Instead of thinking of pushing with all of your might, try these steps.
1. Think of easing the baby out using your uterine contractions.
2. Think about hugging your baby back towards your spine to engage your lower abdominals. 3. Utilize your breath sounds, by performing a low “hum” tone to relax your pelvic floor.
This engagement through your abdominal wall and the relaxation of your pelvic floor helps to support the natural uterine contraction. I have had patients tell me performing this pattern gave them something to focus on and help them feel empowered, and not fight against their body!
If you are close to labor, I hope this will help!