Chapter 12: Pushing – Stage 2 of labor
Pushing too early
If the mother starts pushing before her cervix is fully open, the baby will not be
able to come out because the partially closed cervix will block the way. Pushing
too early can also make the cervix swell and stop opening. This will make labor
longer. Even if you know that the cervix is fully open, do not encourage the
mother to push until she is overwhelmed by the urge. Pushing too early will only
tire the mother.
If the mother has been pushing without progress for more than 30 minutes and
you have been trained to do vaginal exams, you can do one now. If you feel even
a little of the cervix, put the mother in the knee-chest position. This position lifts
the baby off the cervix so that the swelling can go down,
and the cervix can start opening again.
Help the mother stay in this position without
pushing for an hour or so. When the cervix is fully
open, she can try pushing again.
What happens during stage 2 of labor
During stage 2, when the baby is high
in the vagina, you can see the mother’s
genitals bulge during contractions.
Her anus may open a little. Between
contractions, her genitals relax.
Each contraction (and each push
from the mother) moves the baby
further down. Between contractions, the
mother’s womb relaxes and pulls the
baby back up a little (but not as far as
he was before the contraction).
After a while, you can see a little of the baby’s head coming down the vagina
during contractions. The baby moves like an ocean tide: in and out, in and out, but
each time closer to birth.
Each contraction brings the baby closer to birth.
During a contraction,
the baby’s head
the baby’s head
goes back inside
A Book for Midwives (2010)
A little more of the
baby’s head shows
The head slips
back but not as far