Tips on Pushing While Delivering a Baby |

The most important thing to remember while pushing during delivery of your baby is to have confidence that you can do it. Stay positive, and trust that your body knows what to do. These tips on pushing while delivering a baby are from Darren Salinger, M.D., OB/GYN.

There are only two ways to deliver a baby:  

  1. A natural delivery, or 
  2. Cesarean section.  

“Aah, push it, push it good.  Aah, push it, push it rea’ good.  Oooh, baby, Baby, baby, Oooh, baby.”

Salt N Pepa, 1987

These are tips to effect a natural delivery.  Sometimes even after a long time of pushing, a person may need a cesarean delivery.

There are a few steps to remember to make pushing more effective, which means less time in labour.  

  • Positive thinking is important.  
  • Your body knows what it needs to do.
Childbirth methods chart - vaginal delivery, vacuum assisted, forceps, and Cesarean.
Childbirth at hospital. Ways to deliver baby at hospital by doctor or obstetrician. Methods are vaginal delivery, vacuum assisted, forceps, and Cesarean.

Specific information for when a contraction begins: 

First, take a deep breath like you are going under water.  This step gives you power.

Second, hold your breath and curl up around your baby while lying on your back with your head at a comfortable elevation.  This means bring your chin forward to your chest and bring your knees back toward your chest.  

Note:  This is when people (at the hospital where you are delivering) may help hold the bottoms of your feet.

Third, bear down like a bowel movement.  

To repeat these three steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and hold it.
  2. Curl up.
  3. Push down.  

Counting during the contraction:

Some people like a slow steady count while pushing, such as when doing exercise.  A steady push for three sets of counting from 1 to 10 is a common practice.  Another method is to have someone time 10 seconds and let the person pushing down know when the time is up.  

Some other considerations while pushing:

  • Rest your shoulders; 
  • Rest your face;
  • Try not to push with your legs;
  • Try not to waste energy by hyperventilating, extra motion, extra sounds 
Pregnant woman doing exercises preparing for pushing during delivery of her baby
Exercise during pregnancy is great preparation for pushing during delivery of your baby

Dealing with your support people during labor and delivery:

Keep in mind people may say words such as “harder” or “faster” or “give more effort”.  Don’t get frustrated.  Keep your focus.  

You do not need to push harder, or faster, or more.  

Slow, steady, controlled pushing is the way to go.  

Fear and anxiety during labor and delivery:

There comes a time when people worry that if they continue pushing, they may hurt themselves.  

Please remember this is what the body is made to do.  When you get to the time when this sensation is felt, push past the point of fear; and have confidence that you will not hurt yourself.   

Mother strolling with newborn on the waterfront
Mother strolling with newborn after success pushing and delivering her baby