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Empowered Pushing

By: Caroline Hodges, PTA, Ortho & Pelvic Floor Therapist

One of the things I absolutely LOVE to work with pregnant patients on is what we call “Push Prep.” Whether you’re a first time mother or currently expecting with other littles at home and were never taught to effectively breathe and push during labor and birth, our Pelvic PT services can work to make your birthing experience more safe, comfortable, and effective.

Many people don’t realize how many options there are for effective laboring, birthing positions, and breathing strategies. Many thought processes revert to the stereotypical method of laying on your back with knees bent, holding your breath, and bearing down extremely hard to push the baby out, otherwise known as “purple pushing.” Research has shown that this is not the most effective method and can increase risk for complications, such as pelvic organ prolapse. Many are told to “push like you’re pooping,” which could be an effective cue IF you effectively lengthen your pelvic floor with bowel movements, but how can we be sure? We can physically assess them! Unfortunately, many are still cued into this position by medical personnel, but there are MUCH better ways!

In fact, research shows that giving birth in a position that does not compress on the sacrum is more effective, as the coccyx/tailbone/ tip of the sacrum needs to extend and move out of the way as the baby descends and moves through the birth canal. As you can imagine, there are many positions that allow for this flexibility, so we work to put you in different safe, energy conserving positions and practice with the open glottis breathing.

What is open glottis breathing? It’s essentially the opposite of purple pushing, which closes the glottis. We teach you various breathing strategies from deep, diaphragmatic breathing for pain management, to more shallow/light breathing as baby’s head crowns. Keeping this open glottis helps to rescue risk of pelvic organ prolapse, perineal tearing, and has circulation/ oxygenation benefits for both Mom and baby.

Push Prep includes a myriad of labor and birth education and preparation based on research and your individual body’s current functions and dysfunctions to improve your experience if you’re struggling with a painful pelvic floor, SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), pelvic organ prolapse, etc.). We help you through:

  • Perineal massage

  • Laboring positions to open the pelvic inlet, mid pelvic, and pelvic outlet

  • Birthing positions

  • Breathing & pushing strategies

  • Pain management techniques

  • Immediate postpartum at-home rehab strategies

If you or someone you know is preparing to have a baby and want to know more about your pelvic floor and what you can do to further prepare your mind and body for the labor and birthing experience, make an appointment to see one of our phenomenal Pelvic PTs!

Send us a question!

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