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Birth Lessons From a Toddler

So this morning, my toddler wakes up (later than usual 🙌🏼) and it became increasingly clear that he wasn’t himself. Pretty quickly into our morning he was fussing more than normal and spending a lot of time under foot. Then there it was- the infamous grunt. The sound that as a birth worker, makes me giddy; but as a mother on a typical Friday morning (with her husband out of town), makes me cringe. Welcome, constipation. We are not happy to see you.

Our morning consisted of lots of discomfort, an empty fridge, and an empty medicine cabinet all wrapped up in one giant grunt. Trying my hardest to avoid a grocery store at 8 am, I text nearly everyone in midtown to no avail. Finally we bit the bullet and all loaded into our “momma wagon” to our neighborhood CVS. So there we were, all children still in jammies with boots on the wrong feet and a momma who was counting it a win that she at least had a bra on. Wondering what this has to do with birth yet? It’s coming. I’m a storyteller at heart, so give me time.

We get back home and I pull out our “not so fun” purchase- Children’s Glycerin Suppositories. Something I’m sure all toddlers are very welcoming of, right? Wrong. But we did it and had the diaper snapped back up in no time. It was while we waited for “relief” that I made an observation only a birth worker would make- his movement.

Over the next 5 (maybe less than) minutes he was terribly uncomfortable and making sounds that had this doula momma ready to pull out the Spinning Babies Quick Reference Manual. But alas, everything was successful and I was able to put away my “bag of tricks”. But what I couldn’t move on from was the way he moved during that time. It was so instinctual. It was like he was truly listening to his body in the same way a mother does when she is trying to birth a baby. He alternated from squatting to rocking on hands and knees (with the occasional collapse of despair). I found it so interesting to see how he naturally moved his body into positions that felt both comfortable and effective for him. Positions that are beneficial in pushing something “large-ish” out of your body. I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of similarities there between my toddler and birthing mommas.

So what do positions have to do with the second stage of labor? A 2017 Cochrane Review study found that upright positions during the second stage of labor were linked not only to a decrease in pain, but also to a decrease in medically assisted deliveries. So what positions are out there? It’s hard to imagine other pushing positions that the standard supine position, but momma, there is a whole world of positions out there that I’m more than happy to enlighten you about! Check it out! 👇🏼 1. Hands and knees- helps relieve backache, can assist in the rotation of a baby in OP position, allows for pelvic rocking and other bodily movements, takes pressure off hemorrhoids. 2. Side-lying- allows rest and relaxation between pushing, helps lower blood pressure, good for medicated births, can slow a very rapid second stage, takes pressure off hemorrhoids. 3. Squatting- may relieve backache, uses gravity to help baby descend, may aid in baby’s rotation, widens pelvic outlet (who wouldn’t want that?), provides the mechanical advantage of the upper trunk pressing on the uterus, may help bring on the urge to push, requires less bearing down effort, allows freedom to shift weight for comfort.

These are just a FEW of my favorites. But if you’re interested in more, I encourage you to do your research. When giving birth you do HAVE options. I’ve found that many times the nurses I’ve worked with are perfectly happy to accommodate my moms and what makes them comfortable. But if you haven’t researched or educated yourself, it’s hard to know what to ask for or what you may even want. The positions listed come from what I refer to as my “doula bible” - The Birth Partner (Penny Simkin)  . 

Want to know more about the Evidence on Pushing Positions? Check this out from- Evidence Based Birth , my favorite go-to for getting all the facts with no bias.

I hope you found this helpful and maybe even got a little laugh from your inside sneak peak of our morning. I’m sure my sweet boy will thank me for the post when he is a teenager. But you just have to know that when living under the roof of a birth worker and blogger, I reserve the right to make you the subject of a teaching moment whenever one presents itself.

Happy Friday, folks!

PS- said toddler is running and playing as happy as can be right now. 🙌🏼