Second Stage Labor: What Is Normal?

Authors

  • SUSAN McKAY RN, PHD, ACCE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Susan McKay is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Laramie, Wyoming. A childbirth educator, Dr. McKay is a consultant for the International Childbirth Education Association. Dr. McKay is a member of NAA-COG.
      Address for correspondence: Susan McKay, RN, PhD, Health Education and Psychological Services, 102 South Fifth, Laramie, WY 82070.
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  • JOYCE ROBERTS CNM, PHD

    1. Joyce Roberts is professor and director of the Graduate Nurse-Midwifery Program at the University of Colorado School of Nursing. Dr. Roberts is a member of NAACOG, ACNM, and Sigma Theta Tau.
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Address for correspondence: Susan McKay, RN, PhD, Health Education and Psychological Services, 102 South Fifth, Laramie, WY 82070.

Abstract

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.

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