During childbirth, the second stage of labor is the pushing stage.

On this episode of the birth experience, we are chatting all about whether or not you should hold your breath while pushing. (I break down all things pushing in my free pushing class during The Fearless Birth Experience)

Back in the day, we instructed everyone to lay on their backs, grab behind their knees (I affectionately call your knee-pit) and hold their breath while I (your labor nurse) counted to ten.

What we used to do during pushing isn't bad; it just might not be best for you or all women. And we did it the same way for everyone.

Pushing can involve either an open or closed glottis. The glottis is the opening between the vocal cords in the larynx.

Open glottis pushing involves taking a deep breath and exhaling forcefully while keeping the vocal cords open. This technique allows for more air to be expelled and can provide a greater amount of pressure to push the baby through the birth canal. Open glottis pushing may also reduce the risk of pelvic floor injury.

Closed glottis pushing, on the other hand, involves holding one's breath and contracting the abdominal muscles while closing the vocal cords. This technique can create more pressure, but it also reduces the amount of oxygen getting to the baby and may increase the risk of pelvic floor injury or damage to the perineum.

Some studies suggest that open glottis pushing may be associated with shorter pushing times, less perineal trauma, and a lower risk of instrumental delivery than closed glottis pushing. However, the optimal pushing technique may depend on various factors, such as maternal fatigue, the baby's size, and the baby's position in the birth canal.

It's important to note that both open and closed glottis-pushing techniques have potential benefits and risks.

You should do your due diligence by taking a full comprehensive birth class and then listening to your gorgeous body during birth.


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Next Steps with LNM:

If you are ready to invest in your pregnancy & postpartum journey, you are in the right place. I would love to take your hand and support you in your virtual labor room!

If you are ready to dive into a birth class and have your best and most powerful birth story, then Calm Labor Confident Birth or The VBAC Lab is your next step.

If you have a scheduled cesarean, take our Belly Birth Masterclass and own that experience.

If you are a newly pregnant mama or just had the babe, you want to join our private pregnancy and postpartum membership, Calm Mama Society.

Remember, my advice is not medical advice. Always discuss what you learn with your team. See my Disclaimer here! Also, We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them.