Homebirth attended by the woman's mother and a midwife
Women who birth with a doctor or midwife in attendance are likely to experience directed pushing where they are told when and how to push. In addition, there are also women who are told to stop pushing because of a cervical lip, or not being dilated enough, or in the case of a baby emerging, to check for an umbilical cord.
With these expectations on pushing, it stands to reason the concept of pushing a baby out is viewed by the majority to be within a birthing woman’s control as per instruction from her care provider. Movies and TV shows also reinforce this belief with childbirth scenes of controlled breathing and pushing, and women working hard to expel the babies from their bodies.
Stopping an imminent birth in its tracks to check for an umbilical cord is based on the idea babies will not be able to be birthed if the cord is around their neck and impeding the birth process. Most cords are not that short, and if they are, the baby is still able to be birthed without needing to fiddle with the cord. There is information here on the nuchal cord and newborn somersault, and a diagram of what somersault manoeuvre looks like.
As for being told to stop pushing because of a cervical lip or not being dilated enough, it also follows that women’s bodies are defective, and women can’t possibly know what they need to do. This is also common in medical births where birth is monitored with internal examinations.
Curiously enough when it comes to physiological childbirth, not every woman is fully dilated before experiencing the spontaneous bodily urge to bear down. Most of the time this urge quickly becomes a relentless and forceful bearing down in a completely involuntary manner. Regardless of dilation or cervical lips, babies are born like this despite the care provider stating it is not time to push yet!
When birth happens on such physiological and spontaneous terms, it can happen pretty fast because of this intense expelling action. Niles Newton named this action the Fetal Ejection Reflex (a term made popular by Michel Odent) and it is now known widely as the Maternal-Fetal Ejection Reflex to include the mother’s physiology in the process.
Not every women will experience this intense maternal-fetal ejection reflex.There are various reasons for this like vaginal exams, bright lights, or other disruptions to the labouring woman - all of which inhibit the physiological process of birth. Women who are drugged or have disturbed births will usually experience a delay in this, or not experience it at all and need to consciously work at pushing their baby out.
Birth is a force of nature as much as a tropical cyclone is, and to expect a woman to arrest the spontaneous and intense bearing down that her body is doing involuntarily, seems to be an unrealistic expectation. I think women are indeed the experts when it comes to pushing as one midwife suggested. What do you think?
Womb Ecology - information on the physiological process of childbirth
Completely agree that a womans body knows what to do. I was measured at 5cm dilation and quickly after that push my baby out in a few minutes (at home). I remember thinking: I am only 5 cm! The urge was too strong to do anything about it but I always wondered. Did my body dilate that quickly? Or Was there an error in measuring? Its not very natural, is it?
I advise women to listen to their body. Helianthe Mucha Mama www.muchamama.nl
Yeah I think your body probably did dilate that quickly! In "Normal Childbirth: Evidence & Debate" by Soo Downe - there are quite a few accounts of this quick dilation. When the body and baby is lined up, there just is no stopping it hey!
I had thIs with my second child. I started bearing down, about 2hrs into labor. When the nurse checked my cervix she said I was only at 6
But I couldn't stop the urge to bear down. She checked again and said I was at 9 when the contractions hit. This was followed by them telling me not to push because the dr was not there yet. It was impossible to fight? My body would contract and bear down on its own. I could literally feel her moved down my body as I fought the contractions and she came out almost entirely on her own.
I hate this piece simply because it makes me vividly remember the awful hospital birth I had to endure. Everything I wanted to do was ignored, I was forced to do what I expllicitly said I didn't want to do. I was told not to push when my body already was, I wasn't allowed to sit up for it (I was literally pinned down and drugged) I was made to push when I didn't need to and 'harder because the pushes are ineffective'. Agh! Such crap! Thank the Lord I had an awesome homebirth 2nd time with zero help from anyone besides my husbands arm:)
I am sorry you had an experience like that with your first. I am a strong believer in women's right to have autonomy in birth and it is a shame this can't be supported by hospitals as a matter of practice. You didn't mention whether you experienced the fetal ejection reflex at your homebirth - how did that go for you?