Objective: The objective of this study was to compare obstetrical outcomes associated with coached versus uncoached pushing during the second stage of labor.
Study design: Upon reaching the second stage, previously consented nulliparous women with uncomplicated labors and without epidural analgesia were randomly assigned to coached (n = 163) versus uncoached (n = 157) pushing. Women allocated to coaching received standardized closed glottis pushing instructions by certified nurse-midwives with proper ventilation encouraged between contractions. These midwives also attended those women assigned to no coaching to ensure that any expulsive efforts were involuntary.
Results: The second stage of labor was abbreviated by approximately 13 minutes in coached women (P = .01). There were no other clinically significant immediate maternal or neonatal outcomes between the 2 groups.
Conclusion: Although associated with a slightly shorter second stage, coached maternal pushing confers no other advantages and withholding such coaching is not harmful.