Holding breath during labor poll

Olivia - posted on 07/10/2010 ( 54 moms have responded )

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Okay so I gave birth to my daughter all natural at a birth center, when I pushed my midwife told me NOT to hold my breath, she said it put an unnecessary strain on the body. But I am just curious from the women that I have talked to the doctor all told them to hold their breath when they pushed.

So where you told to hold your breath or not?

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[deleted account]

This made me think of something else. When my daughter's head was starting to crown and I felt the "ring of fire" my doctor told me to push through that. That's when I tore. I read later that when you feel that burning it's nature's way of telling you to stop. You're supposed to let the head slowly stretch the skin instead of pushing it out. It makes me wonder what the hell doctors DO know since the things they told me to do were wrong. I switched doctors after my daughter was born.

[deleted account]

I think I exhaled with growling (I like that Yvonne) as I pushed - I could not have held my breath I need to breathe all though I don't think I inhaled during the pushing.



Jen I was yelled at for screaming too and for and yelling 'she's going back up, she's going back up' (I had called the baby a he up until then because I did not know what we were having - and he turned out to be a boy) lol.



Jodi I thought I was the only one everyone looks at me as if I came down in the last rainstorm when I say the pushing did not hurt and that it was actually a relief (after my 45 min labour) :-)

Yvonne - posted on 07/12/2010

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Mate who can push and not hold their breathe at the same time? Well maybe a controlled breathing out as one growls and pushes. (I think they call it grunting, but I think growling is a better word.) lol

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Olivia - posted on 07/20/2010

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Sara that is exactly what I did. No screaming an occasional grunt and I felt like I was falling asleep in the jacuzzi tub between pushes.

[deleted account]

lol, Kati! If only we could just walk out and go home. Maybe try again the next day when we're rested. I did grunt a little while pushing. During hard labor I didn't talk or even open my eyes. My eyes stayed shut until the baby was out. Then I opened them to see what felt like a million people staring at my vagina. lol

Rosie - posted on 07/20/2010

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i grunted, but there wasn't any screaming. although i did threaten to leave cause i didn't want to do it anymore.....

Sherri - posted on 07/20/2010

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See I handle my pain differently and the minute labor starts I don't make a sound or udder a word until the baby is born.

[deleted account]

I don't think many of us are Lyndsay - my huby was a little embarassed by me and my language - oops, and the 'What the hell have you done to me' classic line :-)

Lyndsay - posted on 07/19/2010

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The only thing they told me was to stop screaming. I was probably not a very pleasant patient that night...

[deleted account]

The only part about pushing that hurt for me was the "ring of fire." Once her head was almost out I was numb which was good because I tore a little. I didn't really feel complete "relief" until the rest of her was out. That was the best feeling ever! lol

Jess - posted on 07/18/2010

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I was told to stop pushing for so long *stupid midwife* that when they actually realised I was serious about this baby coming out they told me just push when ever I was ready.

I didn't even wait for the contractions, I just pushed before they had time to change their minds ! 3 quick pushes and she was completely out.... I think I held my breath while I pushed but not at anyone's suggestion.

Olivia - posted on 07/14/2010

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Well everyone's pain tolerance is different along with every birth. Personally I had no pain.

Rosie - posted on 07/13/2010

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you guys are crazy when you say it didn't hurt, lol!!! i've also heard people say it was like bad menstrual cramps, which was not at all what it was like for me. i felt like my abdomen was turning itself inside out from the back forward. it was nothing like cramps, and yes it hurt like hell, lol!!

Olivia - posted on 07/13/2010

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It blows me away to how people can hold their breath while pushing but I know some women how did, and some docs that told them to. Its crazy.

Marsha - posted on 07/13/2010

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i was told to take a deep breath in and then push, so i did. i did the panting thing when both were born so i didn't tear. i know i was told during labor not to hold my breath when having contractions to breath slow and normally, which i did while bouncing on my birthing or exercise ball

[deleted account]

Jodi I agree it was hardwork but not painful to push, the contractions before I got to the pushing were painful though - I'm thankful for gas and air. I never realised I even had some of the muscles I used that day :-)

I do not know how anybody could NOT breath during pushing - I could not have inhaled but I definately had to exhale to push because it was major physical exertion for me :-)

[deleted account]

I wasn;t told to hold my breathe but to pant so that the head could be delivered with less chance of tearing down below.

Amber - posted on 07/12/2010

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If you take a deep breath, you can let it out while you push...at least that's what I did.

And I agree with Jodi too, I didn't think labor was bad. My spouse was blown away by how easy I thought it was. He thought I would be begging for drugs, but I didn't want them and didn't get them. I thought the pregnancy was ten times worse than the labor.

Jodi - posted on 07/12/2010

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Really? People can do that? I am trying to imagine totally holding your breath (like not even exhaling) when you are pushing.....

Olivia - posted on 07/12/2010

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After reading everything, I want to say that what I mean by holding you breath its not slowly exhaling while pushing I mean neither breathing in or out, holding your breath...

Jodi - posted on 07/12/2010

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Quoting Toni
"Jodi I thought I was the only one everyone looks at me as if I came down in the last rainstorm when I say the pushing did not hurt and that it was actually a relief (after my 45 min labour) :-)"

I never realised it was usually painful for people to push. I have no idea why no pain, but there really wasn't. It was bloody hard work, but I honestly can't remember any pain at all, just exhaustion and relief. Even when they were telling me not to push yet and I had to pant my way through the real physical need to push I don't recall any pain. I had no drugs, so it wasn't that :) But, I do remember grunting/growling, and that was more because of the effort. It was totally involuntary.

Jane - posted on 07/12/2010

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LOL - I can't really remember...it was so long ago but I THINK I exhaled slowly as I was pushing.

Stephanie Jo - posted on 07/12/2010

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I held my breath,the staff said not to but it helped me during the contractions.

Rosie - posted on 07/12/2010

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seriously though ladies tell me how you can't hold your breath while pushing? there's no way. you use your abdominal muscles to breathe right? you can't use them to breathe and push at the same time, it's impossible (at least what i'm invisioning is, lol)!! you take a deep breath and then push while exhaling, which they ususally counted to 10 each time for me. when i was to ten, i'd start breathing again until the next contraction came. i'm not being facecous (sp?) i am just genuinely curious how you can breathe and push at the same time.

Ashley - posted on 07/12/2010

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I wasn't actually told anything about breathing... and I remember breathing out slowly when I was pushing and breathing inbetween pushes and my dr seemed fine with that... I really don't remember my first pushing experience much at all..

Brandy - posted on 07/12/2010

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I was told not to hold my breath and I definately didn't have any urge to. And for the girls that were talking about catheters, I had one when I was having my first baby because I was unable to drain my bladder but it was so full that it was stopping me from progressing any further. As soon as they inserted it and drained by bladder, I started progressing again and was done in no time.

Amber - posted on 07/12/2010

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I was told not to hold my breath. I was supposed to continue breathing. That was my spouses job, to keep me breathing. Deep breaths when I could, and panting when I couldn't.
I'm actually surprised that you guys were told not to yell. I didn't yell, because it seemed silly. But they never told me that I couldn't.
I had a cath because I was having complication and not allowed out of bed, but they removed it when I was 9cm.

Corena - posted on 07/12/2010

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My doula would not let me hold my breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Tuck my chin to my chest and growl during pushes. No high pitched screaming...it makes the pain worse...in my experience.

I had a great pushing experience.



Getting to the pushing part was a huge relief to me as well...after 42 hours of labour I was more than ready! He was out in like 10 minutes.

Johnny - posted on 07/11/2010

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I was told by my midwives not to hold my breath. I did though, unfortunately. It made me constantly emit this very high pitched squealing sound that apparently only I could hear. It was like I was blowing a vuvuzela in my own ear that was audible to no one else. That and I also had a 4th degree tear. I plan to find a way to breathe if I do it again. Or I'll go with Megan's plan and hold my breath enough that I just pass out.

Melissa - posted on 07/11/2010

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I was told by my doctor to not hold my breath so i didnt break a blood vessel in my face or eye

[deleted account]

I was told not to by the midwife. They also yelled at me for screaming. Well, I was in pain and hysterical.

Meghan - posted on 07/11/2010

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I kept holding my breath and the nurses and doc gave me heck for it...I wasn't trying to but they told me that it makes it harder to push past the pain. I don't know. Maybe in the back of my mind I was hoping I would pass out!

Olivia - posted on 07/11/2010

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you can have the same effect pushing without holding your breath then if you hold your breath. Holding your breath puts unnecessary strain on you and the baby.

I'm surprised how few people where actually told to NOT hold their breath.

Rosie - posted on 07/11/2010

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i got thinking momre about this trying to relive it all, and you have to hold your breath while pushing. you use your abdominal muscles to push, and breathe. so while they were making sure i was breathing appropriately between pushes, u kindof have to hold it to push, don't you? i can't see any other way, unless i'm a weird pusher, lol!!

Stephanie - posted on 07/11/2010

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I had my son at a hospital all natural (and only at a hospital instead of at home because I was a little nervous.) I was told (yelled at really) to hold my breath. I was told to hold for the three counts of ten or whatever, not to yell aloud etc. When Michael wasn't coming and the pain took over I did things my way and he was born within minutes. Needless to say the next one will definitely be at home.

[deleted account]

I don't remember what I did... I think I held my breath, but my midwives didn't tell me to or not to.

Katherine - posted on 07/10/2010

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Wish it wasn't here. I had a bdominal pain after my pregnancy. They cathed me just in case I had to go into surgery!!!! I HATE catheters!!!!!!

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2010

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Really? Wow!! I know they used to do that (like MANY years ago), but I didn't think it was something they worried about anymore, and it was something that was a choice, but not usually used.

Rosie - posted on 07/10/2010

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i had one for my first jodi. only because my body for some reason couldn't pee. with my other 2 i didn't need one.

Rosie - posted on 07/10/2010

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i was told not to hold my breath. baby needs oxygen, and i needed to breathe for that to happen. also something about straining to much makes blood vessels pop around your eyes.

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2010

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You had a catheter? Is that standard to have one offered? I wouldn't know, I never had one and was never offered one, just curious :)

Katherine - posted on 07/10/2010

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I was told to hold my breath while I pushed....I thought I was going to pop. That's probably why I popped the catheter.

*Lisa* - posted on 07/10/2010

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I wasn't told either way. Even during antenatal classes they never mentioned breathing which I found surprising.

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2010

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I wasn't told anything. I pretty much just went with what felt natural, and asking me now, I can't remember if I breathed or not, I just pushed when I felt the urge. Interestingly, I do remember the pain stopped when I got to that stage, and while there was a LOT of tightening, I just don't remember any pain.

Gertie - posted on 07/10/2010

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I was in so much pain I can't remember...I just did what I felt I needed to do...keep on pushing that baby out!

Joanna - posted on 07/10/2010

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I wasn't told either way. I think they just expected me to do what felt best, and that's what I did. I don't know whether I did or not, although knowing me and the pain I was in, I was probably holding it just to keep the curse words in :P

Terrie - posted on 07/10/2010

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my nurses told me to breath deeply & to exhale sloooowly & specifically told me NOT to hold my breath

Sherri - posted on 07/10/2010

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I was told NOT to hold my breath. I was told if I wasn't breathing the baby wasn't breathing.

Charlene - posted on 07/10/2010

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There was no doctor in the room when I was pushing, just the L&D nurse and she told me to breathe.

Olivia - posted on 07/10/2010

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Yeah that's what I did grunting, very effective I agree. I just don't understand why a doctor says to hold your breath I find it very ignorant.

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