Traditional management of second stage labor has come under scrutiny because of improved understanding of what normally occurs when second stage labor is allowed to proceed of its own accord without direction from birth attendants. When women bear down spontaneously as they feel the urge to push, either holding their breath briefly or with short exhalation of air, normal maternal and fetal physiological status is maintained and second stage labor does not appear to be lengthened. Using a variety of maternal positions during second stage labor can optimize physiologic functioning and increase maternal comfort.