As long as mammals have existed, most mothers have been giving birth to their young without any medical assistance. Flash forward a few millennia, and plenty of pregnant women are privileged to have the choice between choosing an epidural (or some type of anesthesia) or doing things completely "naturally." If you are thinking about going the latter route, then you'll probably be happy to know that there are quite a few pushing tips for an unmedicated birth that'll get you through the pain. After all, any little bit of help is typically welcomed during labor and delivery.
Although I had to have a Cesarean section due to multiple medical conditions, a surprising number of my female friends have delivered their babies without any kind of drugs or modern medicine. Some moms-to-be prefer the calming environment of a water birth, while others want to be surrounded by their loved ones in the comfort of their own home. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that several moms-to-be have entirely unmedicated births in the hospital. Regardless of how or where you choose to bring your little one into the world, here are some pushing tips if you do have an unmedicated birth.
1. Do Your Homework
You've probably already read your fair share of childbirth advice, but it's helpful to know the specifics. As parenting expert and author Katie Wells wrote on her official site Wellness Mama, learning about the different stages of labor can help you feel more prepared. Sometimes, just knowing what to expect takes away the "fear of the unknown" factor.
2. Loosen Up
This might sound impossible, but it actually helps. As obstetrician Dr. Heidi Rinehart told Parents, "when you're tense, some muscles are tightening and trying to hold the baby in, while the muscles in your uterus are tightening to try to push the baby out." So if you try and relax as much as possible, you can reduce the pain of pushing since your muscles won't be warring against each other.
3. Follow Your Urges
According to Baby Center, one of the benefits of having an unmedicated birth is that, unlike with an epidural, you're able to feel the urge to push. Since you'll be able to feel the full spectrum of your body's signals, you can try spontaneous pushing. Also known as physiological pushing, the mother pushes when and how her body directs her, as Baby Center further noted. Whether you choose this or the traditional coached method, you'll probably want to talk to your midwife, doula, or doctor.
4. Look Down
Some women find that being on their back is the most comfortable position for pushing. If this is your preference, too, then you might want to, "tuck your chin to your chest," as What To Expect noted. Putting your head down like this also helps you to focus and block out distractions.
5. Take A Soak
Whether you're doing a water birth or not, you can benefit from a soak. As childbirth instructor Janet Balaskas told Today's Parent, "soaking in warm water increases the production of oxytocin," which can make pushing without medication more comfortable. It's helpful to remember that everyone is different and you should do what feels right for you.
6. Pop A Squat
Squats aren't just for the gym anymore. According to the offical site of The Mayo Clinic, "squatting helps open your pelvis, giving your baby more room to rotate." Since an unmedicated birth gives you more freedom of movement, you may find this position to be a less painful pushing position.