We've updated one of our most favorite series -- 10 tips for each of the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, guidelines based on years of research that help you approach birth informed and with more confidence. Be sure to read through each of the six posts -- 60 tips in all for a better, safer, healthier birth experience!
10 Ways to Avoid Giving Birth on Your Back and Push When You Feel the Urge
1. Learn why avoiding giving birth on your back and following your body's urges to push is healthy for you and your baby.
2. Discuss early on with your care provider that you would like to do what comes naturally when it comes to positions and pushing during birth. If your care provider reacts negatively, it could be a red flag that they do not support evidence-based practices.
3. Take a good childbirth class to learn the many ways in which you can push out a baby, and in particular, the many positions you can push in/on/around a hospital bed that does not involve lying flat on your back.
4. Avoid interventions that restrict your mobility so you can easily move in any way you feel comfortable, including positions for pushing, like on all fours, standing, squatting, and side lying.
5. If interventions become necessary, involve your labor support team to help you remain as mobile as possible and get into upright positions for birthing.
6. Learn the difference between directed pushing and pushing with your body's natural urges.
7. Include details in your birth plan about your preferences to push in a position that is most comfortable to you and to follow your body's natural urges to push. You can use language like, "Please don't count or coach during pushing unless specifically requested. Share your birth plan with your care provider during your pregnancy, and bring a copy of your birth plan to your place of birth to share with your nurses/attendants.
8. Consider "laboring down" to shorten the amount of time spent actively pushing and to provide you with more energy to push in upright positions.
9. If you are birthing at a hospital, ask your nurses in advance of pushing about using the squat bar. Nearly all maternity beds come with a squat bar attachment, but staff may need some time to locate it and bring it to your room. The squat bar is an excellent tool that can help support your squatting position in labor and birth. It can even be used for people who have an epidural.
10. You may find that pushing on your back and/or pushing with the encouragement or coaching of your labor support team is actually helpful -- and that's ok, too! Labor and birth is about what works best for you and your baby to have the most healthy and positive experience.
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