Sometimes as the pressure increases because the baby is moving down, the mother will express the desire or need to push, even when the cervix is not completely dilated.
There are two schools of thought on this: One is that as long as she feels the urge pushing will help finish the dilation process. The other is that all pushing prior to complete dilation will cause swelling of the cervix and delay the process. I've seen women push when they felt like it at 7 centimeters and have the cervix quickly disappear. I've also seen women at 9 centimeters who felt like pushing have their cervix swell. My best advice is to have someone monitor your cervix while you try a few test pushes. Sometimes small pushes at the peak of each contractions, enough to deal with the urge but not enough to cause swelling, are best.
If you are instructed to not push here are some tips:
- Have mom lift her chin in the air
- Have her pant loudly
- Don't let her hold her breath
- Have her imagine a balloon or feather above her face that she is trying to blow away from her face.
Being a Good Coach
No matter what your view on the terminology, coach versus support, the fact is that laboring women need help. They need someone who will know what their preferences are for everything in labor and help them achieve their goals. As her coach you have a distinct advantage over everyone else there: you know her best! Your job is to be supportive of her, enthusiastic, and committed to her.
Practicing relaxation and positioning will make you feel more comfortable with the material.
Remember to enjoy the birth and take care of yourself as well. Pack yourself snacks, go to the bathroom when possible (Try not to leave her alone.), and protect your back while doing labor positions. Remember wearing yourself down won't help her in the long run!