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Don’t push! The pushing stage of birth is coached in most hospitals and involves the attendants telling the birthing woman when her cervix is fully open (dilated) and encouraging her to give long, strong pushes with each contraction.Previous research shows that coached pushing does not improve the short-term outcome for mothers and babies, except when the baby needs to be born as soon as possible.

This study, conducted by Schaffer and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 2005, randomized 325 women giving birth to coached or uncoached pushing.

Three months later, they measured the pelvic floor and bladder function of 128 of these new mothers.1

The guest commentator on this article is Sarah J. Buckley, M.D.

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