How To Push A Baby Out

  • How do I know when to push?
  • What if I don’t feel the urge to push?
  • How long will it take to push out my baby?
  • Will I poop in front of everybody?

These four fantastic pushing questions are discussed in almost every childbirth class I teach.

So, let’s discuss them here, shall we?

how to pushHow do you know when to push?

Well, there are a few answers to this question.  The easiest answer is when your body just does it.  I know that’s not too helpful for those who are pregnant and never pushed out a baby before, but pushing can be compared to a sneeze or vomiting.

Pushing is an involuntary response.  It can actually be hard to NOT push, when your body is pushing.

Sometimes if a woman has an epidural, she will not feel the urge to push.  So in her case, she will know when to push when her nurse or doc says so.

A lot of times with an epidural birth they will let the mom “labor down” before beginning the pushing stage.  Basically, this means they are letting the baby come down on its own without pushing (after a mom is fully dilated).  Since it usually takes a lot longer to push out your baby with an epidural, “laboring down” helps your body do some of the early work so you don’t have to.

What if you don’t feel the urge to push?

This questions assumes that you have had a vaginal check, you are 10 cm and that you don’t feel like pushing or bearing down.  What’s a gal to do?

If something isn’t working, try something new!

Well, you could change positions.    If you have been lying down, try standing up, squatting, getting into the tub, walking, hoolahooping, lunges, etc.

If after trying some position changes and you feel no urge to push, you could just do nothing.  If you and the baby are fine, I mean, it’s not an emergency.

If you are over it and ready to see your baby (duh) try bearing down a little and see how that feels.  Sometimes women don’t feel an overwhelming urge to push and bearing down a little during contractions helps.  Someone who was in one of my classes said that with her last baby she never felt the urge, but she decided to push anyways and her baby practically fell out.

how to push
Here I am pushing with everything I had.

How long will it take to push out my baby?

Let’s see… my vaginal crystal ball says… 30 minutes.  Oh, wait… 90 minutes.  I mean 180 minutes.

I have no idea!

For the first time mom it is usually a longer process – 1.5 hours and longer.  It could definitely be longer.  Like 4-5 hours…

But, both second time moms in my current childbirth class took about 30 minutes for their first babies.  So, your guess is as good as mine.

To speed up the pushing process, however, try an upright position and make sure you’re off your back!

Will I poop in front of everybody?

Possibly.  Probably.

If you have ever looked at the anatomy of a pregnant woman you can see that to push your baby out, your baby’s head will be pushing EVERYTHING out of you.

When I see/smell poop during the pushing phase at birth I get excited because I know she is pushing correctly and making great progress!

To birth professionals, it’s a no big deal type of thing, but to a pregnant mom this might be giving you nightmares.

Let’s Talk More About Pooping

What would this mean to you if that happened? What would you tell yourself about yourself?

Think about that for a moment.  What would your I AM statement be if you pooped when you pushed out your baby?

I AM _____________.

Now, take another moment and think about if that I am statement is serving you.  No?  Ok, then what would you like to tell yourself about yourself if you were working really hard, pushing with all you had, bringing your baby down and you pooped.

I AM ________________.  See if you could look at this potential situation with new eyes, eyes of love and acceptance.

What About You?

Those are some good questions about pushing that I thought of.  What new questions do you have now that you read this post?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.


I find the following things to be extremely handy when pushing out a baby.  Honey for energy.  The fan to keep you cool (it’s hard work!).  And the water bottle to keep you hydrated.  This is the sprint at the end of the race!


  1. 1

    sara says

    I had no idea I needed to push.. I just had great pressure like I needed to relieve myself, but when I sat on the toilet, it was much too uncomfortable. I don't recall pushing to get the head out. When it was time, my body took over. I dropped into a semi squat position and howled loudly as the baby's head made its way out. Honestly, I thonk had I pushed when i first had the urge to relievw myself, my baby would have been born a half hour sooner… As for the poop…. mass quantities, so I've been told. But the LAST thing on my mind while bringing my baby into the world. Lindsay, one day we need to get together and I'll tell you the whole story.

  2. 2


    Sara! Hi!

    Either someone in one of my class or Alice mentioned to me how fast your baby came and how there was poop. lol! I'm glad you didn't start pushing a half hour sooner… that would have been crazy fast. How fast was your birth anyways? And yes, we need to get together some time. Maybe we should have a reunion class? Has everyone in your class had their babies?

  3. 3

    sara says

    Morgan was the last and she had hers this past week. I had a hula performance that night and a few hours after I was done, the baby came. Craziness

  4. 4

    jane says

    I was in labor for 27 hours with my first baby jada Victoria.i did with very little drugs only headache medicine.i stuck with my Lamaze breathing and my husband and my girlfriends and doula and midwife coaching me.i am 4-11 my daughter was in posterior position I was my hands and knees pushing her out.i told my husband this it our baby was coming.with midwife help he got deliver our took 1 hour of pushing to get her here.everyone impress that I did a good job pushing for first time mom.she weighed 7 pound three once 22 inchs long.that was good size baby size baby for someone under husband and my girlfriends gave me pin purple heart metal style pin for being a female warrior.11 months latter I had twin boys.labor 15 hours and pushed 30 minutes .

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