I've always wondered why human mothers are instructed to "push" when giving birth.

Every other animal just gives birth of it's own accord. Albeit perhaps from a different position with the help of gravity. You don't have to tell a giraffe to push.

But for some reason humans feel like mothers can only give birth through conscious will power.

Surely, if the mother just let the body do it's natural thing, the baby would come out just the same.

What's more, I would expect that if the mother was consciously "pushing" using the wrong muscles this would hinder rather than help the birth. (Does a woman even have mental control over this?)

Also, what's the rush? As long as the umblical cord is still attached, should it matter how long the birth takes?

When did this idea of telling the mother to "push" first start, and is it common practice around the world?

Here is an article which questions this idea: https://curiosity.com/topics/should-we-stop-telling-women-to-push-during-labor-curiosity/

  • $\begingroup$ Also like telling the husband to go out and chop wood - keeps the attention where it is needed... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 15, 2019 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Solar But I've read that no attention is needed. As animals can give birth even if unconscious. Actually I read that a hospital in Kent England, has recently stopped telling mothers to push and it actually has reduced stiches and such-like and that this only started in the 1920's as more mothers gave birth in hospitals. $\endgroup$
    – zooby
    Sep 15, 2019 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Now you should update your question... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 15, 2019 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @arsak curiosity.com/topics/… $\endgroup$
    – zooby
    Sep 16, 2019 at 0:06


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .