Contrary to popular belief, forced pushing during the final moments of labor is both unneeded and unwanted for a woman giving birth. Nancy Tatje-Broussard, after hearing an anecdote of a woman who gave birth while unconscious, reasoned that while one is conscious one needs not use such force, either. Science eventually demonstrated that the second stage of labor was beneficial for the baby and that pushing can be harmful for both mother and baby, which can result in decreased heart rate or asphyxiation for the baby and tearing of the perineum for the mother.

Key Takeaways:

  • Until the 1920s, pregnant women in labor were not instructed to push during the second stage.
  • When a woman is pushing, she is holding her breath, depriving herself and her baby of oxygen.
  • When you are giving birth, you need to allow it to happen rather than try to make it happen.

“Giving birth is a creative act, and like all creative acts it cannot be forced to conform to society’s unnatural time constraints.”

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