Today we are going to talk about the process of “pushing.” Pushing is the most dramatized part of the entire labor experience: you would be hard-pressed to find a birth scene in a movie or TV show that did not climax in a screaming woman pushing the baby out. But how hard is pushing, really?
Well, the process itself can be exhausting or surprisingly quick, and painless (with an epidural) or painful. But did you know that your body does most of the hard work before you even consciously begin to push? Here is what the Lamaze website has to say:
“The full term pregnant uterus is the strongest muscle in the human body. A non-pregnant uterus is the size and shape of a pear. But at full term, that uterus has grown to the size and shape of a watermelon in order to accommodate the mature fetus. At this point, it is the strongest muscle in the human body. It takes a lot of work to dilate the cervix and get that baby out through the pelvis. During the pushing stage of labor, the uterus does about 80% of the work, with the laboring person adding that extra “umph.” If a person was unconcious, and in labor, their uterus would still be able to push that baby out without any additional pushing effort from the pregnant person.
“This certainly explains the shocking stories of women who literally give birth on their way out the door to the hospital! Gravity is only part of the process – your body has to do some serious body-building to prepare for the big day! So help yourself to a treat today and make sure to get some rest – your body is already exercising and preparing your muscles to introduce you to your sweet baby!