Coached Pushing Linked to Severe Tearing During Delivery | Scott Goodwin Law

Coached Pushing Linked to Severe Tearing During Delivery

by / Wednesday, 05 May 2021 / Published in Birth Trauma
Pregnant woman looking out of a window.

Thanks to movies and television, you don’t need to be a parent to know that pushing is part of the process of giving birth. But what a lot of people don’t learn from movies and television is that there’s more than one type of pushing: coached pushing and spontaneous pushing. Spontaneous pushing is a type of pushing that occurs when the expectant mother feels the need to. Coached pushing, on the other hand, is a type of pushing that is guided by someone like a nurse who may direct an expectant mother to push at times even when she doesn’t feel a physical need to be pushing.

Pushing helps bring the baby into the world, but these two approaches to pushing can have different outcomes during delivery. Some recent studies have suggested that coached pushing, which is a practice widely used in hospital births in the United States, can increase the risk of severe perineal tearing during delivery because of the extra force it can create.

Perineal tearing is a very common occurrence during delivery, particularly among those giving birth for the first time, but that doesn’t mean it comes without complications. Tearing can range in severity and more severe cases can potentially have very serious effects on the mother’s life, resulting in problems like incontinence, nerve injuries, and chronic pain, so it’s very important for doctors to do everything they can to make sure tearing is kept to a minimum.

In addition to the increased risk of severe tearing, some research suggests that coached pushing could also lead to a higher risk of irregularities in the baby’s heartbeat and lower oxygen levels. There may also be an increased chance that birth assisting tools could be needed to help with the delivery. Tools like forceps and vacuum suction are safe when used correctly, but babies can be harmed if those tools are used improperly.

Even though some research suggests there are risks to coached pushing, coached pushing does have its advantages. One reason why it is such a common practice in hospitals in the United States is because it’s believed to shorten the labor process, which is particularly important in cases when a quick delivery is needed because of health issues in the mother or the baby. Coached pushing may also be helpful for mothers who have had an epidural who may feel less of an instinctual need to push because of the reduced sensation.

Contact a Birth Trauma Lawyer

Tearing during delivery is common, but severe tearing doesn’t always need to happen. If you experienced severe tearing during delivery and are now dealing with serious, lasting effects, it’s important to look into your legal options. Contact a birth trauma lawyer to talk about your case and find out if your doctor could have done more to prevent the tearing. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a Michigan-based lawyer who is experienced in handling birth trauma and medical malpractice cases. Contact us today to get started.

Image: iStock / damircudic