wondering about 2nd stage of labor

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Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 09/29/09
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wondering about 2nd stage of labor

Hi ladies! Im a lurker here and have some questions about labor. My plan last time was to shoot for a natural but get an epi if it became too much. I talked to some moms in real life last time and was left with the impression that transition is the worst part and that if you can make it through that part you can handle second stage labor. The moms I talked to said you get relief when its time to push. So I thought once I got through transition I would be golden. I made it, painfully, to 10cm. After 30 minutes of being complete I still had no urge to push. The contractions were so painful and I was vomiting with everyone. They encouraged me to start bearing down but it intensified the pain so much I could not push. I think I started to panic because the pain was so much. I got an epi which felt like heaven. He was born an hour later.

I think my downfall was having false expectations about 2nd stage labor. Was what I was told wrong? Is pushing while contracting typically that painful? And I really don't get why I had no urge to push. I was really surprised to still be in that much pain after transition. The pain was just as intense during 2nd stage labor. I'd very much like to hear other peoples experiences here. I'm hoping if im better prepared for pushing I will be able to make it naturally.

Last seen: 4 years 4 days ago
Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

Personally, I would say the intensity of the contractions is the same in the 2nd stage as in the 1st, but I know that I felt better knowing I was able to push. I felt like I was doing something about the pain, rather than just having to wait it out like during the 1st stage.

I agree, maybe the expectations of the pain suddenly getting way better might have caught you off guard.

Some women don't feel much of an urge to push, while others involuntarily begin pushing as the baby descends. Not sure why that is? Sometimes I think it is just the baby's position.

So yes, in my experience pushing hurts. But, it is a different hurt and I like being in control and being able to work to push my baby out.

Congrats on your pregnancy and I hope this time around things will go easier for you Smile

boilermaker's picture
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I think it is different for each woman. I found 2nd stage to be a relief with each of my labors-- but I had a very strong urge to push with each.

I've read about women who didn't have an urge to push for an hour or more after they were complete....maybe the body's way of offering a rest during a challenging time? I wonder if you were pushing when your body wasn't "ready".....I felt the "ring of fire"--but it was not long-lasting and truly only as baby was crowning....

Not sure that is helpful. I hope you have a smooth delivery of Nicholas. Smile

Starryblue702's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I agree that I think it's different for everyone. Even once you're dilated to 10, if you're tensing up due to the pain it can cause labor to stall out (which is why an epi sometimes helps you to relax and push, or dilate more if you're not progressing there). For me the contractions weren't worse, they just came right on top of one another so I didn't get much of a break. The most painful part for me was the crowning, or "ring of fire" and once his head was out but not his body (they were suctioning him) I just remember screaming, "Get him out!!" Lol...

Marite13's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

I'll also say I think it's just different for everyone. The only part of labor that I really felt like I wasn't going to be able to get through (like, just kill me now, I still didn't want drugs! Ha!) was pushing through the ring of fire. I think I was in a bad position for ME (on my side lying down), but I was in a hospital and they were happy with me there, so even though my support team tried to get me to move, I couldn't talk and I just ended up staying there. I had a "rest and be thankful" phase just before I was complete where contractions tapered off in both intensity and frequency, and I slept for like an hour, on all fours. Smile

Anyway.... I think instead of arming yourself with expectations, maybe you should arm yourself with actions... like, if the pain gets too bad, try to labor dance, or get in the water, or have someone do counter pressure.... because yeah, just trying to control it all in your mind, probably won't get you through. I know I wanted to be alone for most of my labor, but right at the end, that is when I needed to hold DHs hand, and I look in his eyes like once (I had my eyes closed for most of my labor).

Good luck, Carolyn! There is no question you can do it! Smile It's just figuring out how. Smile

Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

Definitely different with each woman, and each labour. I'll tell ya, with my first, transition was so rotten and I was terrified that the rest of it would be the same. I vomited a few times, but then I reached 10 and I found a rhythm to my contrax and settled in the tub. I had zero urge to push at all. I did push her out an hour or so later, but only because I consciously was pushing (not very hard). The urge to push was SO STRONG with Fiona. So, keep in mind each labour is different and you will handle it differently each time.

I think your best bet is to get a good doula who is skilled in working with women and reading you to know how to help you figure out your rhythm. If you want to have your best shot at a natural labour, that's my advice. Smile

krazykat's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: 08/11/07
Posts: 1143

What position were you in?

Sometimes (but not always) I believe extreme pain is a signal from your body to change positions. Water can be extremely effective. Either the shower or tub, especially if you weren't feeling a pushing urge.

Was your babe posterior? That can make a huge difference too.

Also, sometimes vomitting can serve a purpose physiologically. I have seen women vomit, and every time they did, the force brought the baby down more. Not ideal, I know, but it does work that way sometimes.

I had the urge to push but found pushing extremely painful too, and not the relief that I expected. My babe was posterior and I had a anterior cervical lip (I was 9.5 cm). So I believe his head was pinching the cervical lip to my pubic bone, and I think that is where my pain came from. Squatting and sitting on the toilet were a living hell for me. The only way I could get even somewhat "comfortable" was to lean back in the tub with my feet stretched out in front.

But remember every baby and every pregnancy is different. The process might be entirely new for you the next time.

Lots-o-Tots's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
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Posts: 574

After delivering my first four with epidurals and reading about NCB and how pushing would be a relief, etc., I think it set me up for false expectations. Certainly that's true for some women, but it wasn't the case for me. What I found with my first home birth was that I could totally handle the contractions, right up through transition. But pushing a baby out with no meds was a complete shock to me. I did it, but it was not what I expected, and I actually spent quite a long time afterwards beating myself up and feeling like a failure for not having one of those peaceful, serene births I had envisioned (I screamed through the pushing). Still, I was ready to do it again, and with my second home birth, I think I just had more realistic expectations. It hurt to push, and I screamed, but I did it, and wouldn't have had it any other way, and am planning a home birth this time as well.

I think it does a disservice to women to promote the notion that a natural birth should be peaceful and the pain minimal. While that's true for some women, it's not true for all women, and I hate to think of how long I felt like I had failed because I didn't handle the pushing as well as I thought I was supposed to.

mommys's picture
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: 05/08/06
Posts: 6264

My first question after reading your post is also (as someone else asked), what position did you push in?

I had a different experience with each of my two births. With the first, pushing was definately better than transition. It wasn't easy by any means but I finally felt like I wasn't trying to catch up with contractions that were on top of each other. I had a strong urge to push and found that pushing on my knees was a relief of pain (baby was posterior as well).

With the second birth. I never had a chance to switch positions, transition went straight into pushes and she was out in about 3. There was absolutely no relief in intensity.

cactuswren's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

First of all, I COMPLETELY agree with you about expectations affecting outcomes with NCB. I could write a book about it.

For me, pushing was just as bad as transition, and I did have a very strong urge to push. And it still lasted two hours. I know that at first I wasn't pushing right--I was directing my energy in the wrong direction, let's say--and when the midwife told me to keep my moaning in a lower register (I was starting to get into something closer to screaming) and push like I was having a bowel movement, things worked a lot better. It felt really weird to me, but it was much more productive. Still, what got me was how LONG it took. I expected pushing to last a few minutes...thanks, Hollywood :rolleyes:

It's also worth noting that I pushed in the tub for most of that time (with DH pouring ice water down my back between contractions because I was so overheated), and when I finally gave up and moved to the bed, she came right out a couple of contractions later. Sometimes just changing position or doing something else to help your body work the way it needs to can make all the difference.

Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: 11/08/11
Posts: 7

Hey it would share...dont worry at all.. mostly woman's breathing may change and she may make groaning and grunting sounds as she pushes. It can take the woman a while to adjust and shift from the breathing pattern she was using in 1st stage of her labour, to the 'bearing down' grunting, groaning and pushing of the 2nd stage of labour. Many women feel uncertain at this time, and wonder if they are doing it 'right'. You can read more on breathing techniques in natural therapies and other methods for pain relief.