One Midwife is Claiming that Women Need to Stop Pushing to Give Birth
When you think about giving birth, what's the one thing that comes to mind? Is it an image of a woman sweating, legs splayed back, pushing with all of her might?
Well, according to one midwife, that image needs to go. Not only is it not working anymore, but it's actually harming women in the process. After seeing a dramatic increase in perineal tearing by 14,000 women in only one year, the staff at Medway Foundation Trust in Kent came up with a program to slow down labor and encourage women to try giving birth in different positions.
And the program is working. It's been reported that the program reduced tearing down to only one percent of patients. It further reduced “unintentional damage” to the body by 85 percent.
The team behind the new program notes that a shocking 9 out of 10 are injured in some way during labor. And many times, excessive, too-early pushing is the culprit. So now they are recommending that women stop pushing so much during delivery.
Instead of pushing, the midwife, Dot Smith, who is the head of the midwife team at the Medway Foundation, encourages women labor and birth in different positions other than flat on their back. For example, women birth by standing, leaning, or on their knees. They take their time during labor and learn to let the baby progress down naturally. They let the uterus do all of the work to expel the baby. After all, did you know the uterus is the most powerful muscle in the body? It knows what to do, it really does.
After moving through labor and letting the baby move down the birth canal, women learn to do delivery a little differently. Most importantly, women are instructed not to push. Instead, breathe through contractions. During delivery, midwives also physically support the babies. They place a hand underneath the women's perineum so the baby doesn't put excessive weight on the skin there.
Honestly, I wish this advice would have been around nine years ago when I spent four hours pushing my daughter out. I'm still traumatized by that experience. And so is my younger sister. She happened to be walking by in the hallway and heard screaming that she says she can't believe was even human. But that's in the past.
So in the future, if you're a pregnant mama waiting to welcome your little one, have a talk with your pregnancy care provider about the best way to give birth. They might recommend that you stop pushing!