The second stage of labour starts when your cervix is fully dilated. A strong urge to push may be overwhelming – this is because of the pressure that your baby’s head is placing on your pelvic area.
Listen to your midwife. This is the time to push your baby out. If it is your first baby, you might expect it to take between one-two hours. Women who have already had babies usually find the second stage happens quicker.
During your antenatal classes, you might have been told about different positions that could help you manage the pain of childbirth. If you have written a birth plan and have it with you, you might want your partner to refer to it, encourage you and help you work through some of the options. Don’t worry if you have forgotten it, don’t have one or don’t feel that anything in it is actually helping. Just try to stay calm and focused and reassure yourself that it will all be over soon. The more relaxed you feel, the more relief from pain you will feel.
The descent of your baby’s head will stretch your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) and may feel like a burning sensation. If you have done any perineal massage during your pregnancy or early labour, you may find it has helped.
Your midwife will advise you on how to manage any discomfort you are feeling and what you need to do.
Remember: listen to your body and push when you feel a strong urge.
Try not to hold your breath while you are pushing.
Usually you will find that, through each contraction, you push several times. By kneeling, squatting or even standing you will be using gravity to help, which can make the process easier.
If you have had an epidural and can’t feel your contractions, your midwife will tell you when to push.
You are about to meet your baby!
This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot NZ.