Transition is normally considered to be the time when you are dilated from 8 to 10 centimeters. During this time, you will probably find it necessary to be totally undistracted, and to go to that quiet place where you are completely inside yourself. During this time, you may display very strange behavior or say strange things. It is often during this time that a woman questions whether she can actually give birth to this baby. She may say that she can't do it, and if there are others around her, this is the time to encourage her that she can do it, that she is doing it. She needs to hear that she is almost there, that it's almost over.
If a woman is birthing alone, this is the time that she looks within herself and draws on inner strengths she doesn't know she possesses. Though there might be a moment of apprehension, this is dispelled when she reminds herself that her body knows what to do...she doesn't have to understand it or know what's going on. Relaxing as well as focusing on the creative power of the universe that is flowing through her can make her feel powerful again. There is a paradoxical issue here, both sides of which can be helpful. While she definitely begins to feel like..."I am Woman, I am in control of this experience"....there is also a sense in which she recognizes that there is a power greater than herself that is in control, that forces greater than herself designed this ancient process, and she is being allowed to participate in it. Both these thoughts can encourage her that she does have the inner wisdom and strength to complete this rite of passage.
Even before a woman reaches 10 centimeters dilation, she may feel the urge to push. Although she should listen to her body and do what it is urging her to do, she should bear down very gently when she first starts to push. Notice how it feels. Is it painful? Pain is often a warning that one should wait. Through the next few contractions, she should focus on not adding any additional pushing force to what her body is doing on its own. The body's own involuntary pushing efforts can birth a baby without any extra pushing from the mother, and it is actually healthier for mother and baby if no additional pushing efforts are added. Sustained pushing, in which the woman holds her breath for ten seconds and bears down, damages the pelvic floor muscles as well as reducing the amount of oxygen to the baby. If for some reason the cervix is not fully dilated, allowing the body's own natural pushing sensation to do the work is less stressful on the cervix than if one bears down fully with ones own power. If the pushing urge is so strong that you cannot help but push along with it, and it feels good, then don't worry....you will be probably be fine.
Sometimes after a woman reaches transition, there will be a resting phase. The resting phase is designed to replenish the uterus with vital nutrients and let it rest so that waste products can be carried away. In addition, it allows the woman some much needed rest before the delivery. If you experience this resting phase (which can last up to one hour), don't panic and think that something is wrong. Relax, have a drink of something that will give you some quick energy, and just enjoy the rest. A couple spoonfuls of raw, unheated honey would be excellent. You won't have long to wait.
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