Spontaneous v Directed Pushing in Labour

5m of CPD
At this stage, the conclusion appears to be that it’s best for pushing to be guided by the patient and their own bodily instincts.

What's included in this resource?

  • CPDTime.
    5m of CPD
  • Article
  • References
  • External Resources

What is this article about?

There are two approaches to pushing in the second stage of labour. Directed pushing involves taking a deep breath at the beginning of a contraction, holding it and bearing down throughout the contraction. Conversely, spontaneous pushing allows patients to follow their own instincts and generally push three to five times per contraction.


Further Learning

  • Additional Resources
  • References

Document and reflect on your learning

  • CPDTime.
    5m of CPD

Meet the educator

educator profile image
Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at
View Profile

What do others think?

486 reviews by Ausmed Learners
Sort by
Highest Rated
Lowest Rated
Most Recent
Sandra Plowman
23 Jul 2020
Excellent article reviewing second stage management, the risks and outcomes of different techniques. Also identified areas needing more research
Portrait of Anna Bagus
Anna Bagus
24 Jul 2020
Great article
Katrina schulze
17 Jul 2020
When a baby is born vaginally it is very exhausting for a mother to be made to push her baby out and often a cs if required. It is much more benificial for a mother to use her natural instincts during childbirth.
Lynee White
25 Jul 2020
I felt that it was a very worth while reading. it give a greater understanding of the way that women would like to push when they birth their babies.
Radhika Kumar
15 Jul 2023
Very informative
Maxine Fraser
25 Aug 2020
A great resource, with references that I was able to access and read for confirmation and clarification.
Sarah Russell
24 Jul 2020
This article was informative and precise, I gained more knowledge in the area of women labouring and giving them more independence.
Wendy Thornton
18 Jul 2020
Excellent quick read for managing second stage labour.
17 Jul 2023
Community Care Worker
easy to read and understand
Alejandra Ortiz
25 Feb 2023
Informative and unbiased
4.4 / 5
1 star
2 star
3 star
4 star
5 star

Here's some further inspiration

Practice Areas

Looking for something else?

Discover more learning

Sometimes I find it really hard to make time for my learning, but I was blown away by how easy it is with the Ausmed app. I can fit it in during breaks or on the bus to work.

- Maria, Registered Nurse