Pushing your baby out is the worst/best thing ever! I remember it being the most painful and then it was suddenly over and there was a baby to hold! I wish someone had told me that pushing a baby out feels a bit weird, actually like you are pooping! This may gross some people out, but think about it, the baby has at that point started its descent into the birth canal and his head is pushing directly against the rectum. I found this phase of labor very hard to deal with the first time; we are so accustomed to “holding it in” until we are in the bathroom (alone). It was embarrassing to think that I might poop in front of the midwife & nurse (in fact, I did a little!), so I tensed up and tried to hold it in, not realizing that I was working against myself and causing more pain. Quick review if you need it: The Stages of Labor
Here is the 4th breathing technique, Birth Breathing, found on pages 73-74 of Teresa’s Birthing As Nature Intended (B.A.N.I.):
As with the previous breathing techniques, you will want to be in your position of choice and start with a big cleansing breath remembering that the baby will be benefitting from every bit of oxygen that you take in. After you exhale, unlike the other techniques, as you take in your next breath through your nose, you will inhale quickly and deeply taking in as much oxygen as you can. As you start your exhale, the technique is similar to the labor breathing exhale with a slight variation. As you exhale slowly with your mouth closed, (still making that muffled haaaaaaa sound in your throat), you will refocus your breath down to your rectum and gently breath [sic] down into your rectum as though you were having the easiest bowel movement of your life and merely assisting the descent with your focused breath making sure that your rectal muscles remain relaxed open.
If you are doing this technique properly, it will feel almost sensual. When you have exhaled completely, you will take in another quick, deep breath and again exhale slowly in the same manner just described. The more slowly you exhale, the more focused you become on breathing down your baby through an open, relaxed path. As you begin to bring your baby down, you may need to repeat three or four breaths through each pulsation. As you follow your natural birthing instincts, you may start nudging with more concerted effort. You may even choose to hold your breath while your bear down with the surge. The main point to remember is that you can breathe or bear down with as much pressure as feels right to you as long as you keep the rectal and vaginal muscles relaxed at all times.
This may sound strange, but practice this technique every time you have a bowel movement. I found it helpful to put a stool under my feet since we have one of those taller types of toilets. (BTW, the stool was key for me being able to empty my bladder completely when I was in the last month of pregnancy! Try it!)
(**This technique is also very helpful for anyone who may be constipated or dealing with hemorrhoids. Also use for the First Poop after your birth.)
Breathe your baby down, and remember to stay relaxed! I hope this series of posts was helpful. Let me know what you think!
Van-Zeller, Teresa L. (2011). Birthing As Nature Intended (B.A.N.I.). Trafford Publishing.