Midwifery Today Community

A home for friends of birth
Attend the Midwifery Today conference in Harrisburg

Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

Last post 02-23-2009 9:48 AM by RobsGirl. 5 replies.
Page 1 of 1 (6 items)
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • 02-22-2009 5:57 PM

    Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex


    The best way to avoid serious perineal damage is to create the conditions for an authentic 'fetus ejection reflex.' This means that the baby is born after a very short series of irresistible contractions without any room for voluntary movements. In this case the mother, who is 'on another planet,' is able to find a complex posture perfectly adapted to the particular case. It is usually an asymmetrical bending forward posture. Very few people can understand what a fetus ejection reflex is because it is more often than not transformed into a second stage of labor with voluntary movements. It does not occur if there are several persons around. It does not occur if there is a birth attendant who behaves like a guide, or a 'coach,' or a support person. It does not occur if somebody wants to 'take care of the perineum.' It does not occur in the presence of the baby's father. The best situation I know for a fetus ejection reflex is nobody around, but an experienced, low-profile, motherly, and silent midwife... a midwife able to remain silent even when the mother-to-be says silly words, such as, for example, "kill me," "let me die," etc... a midwife who will just make sure that the baby will not fall down on the floor.

    With my second birth my body started the FER (fetal ejection reflex) on the way to the birth center in the car, with just DH there. FER is a force to be recognited with! He was born about 4mins after I got to the BC, he literally surfed on out! There was no telling me how to push, only to pant when he was crowning to try to prevent tearing because he was coming so very fast. Words telling a woman when and how to push are distracting, just let her listen to her body - it will tell her all she needs to know.

    My question to you is do you think FER can occur in a medicalized birth, or for that matter in a hospital?


    ~ Cindy
    Mama to Reed and Jonas, wife to Rodney, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Midwife-to-be, working on LLL Leader Accreditation, professionally trained baker, coffee addict, lactavist, birth junkie, born and raised in the San Francisco bay area, born-again Christian and attachment parenting mama!
  • 02-22-2009 7:33 PM In reply to

    • azores
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-30-2009
    • West Coast
    • Posts 121

    Re: Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

     I do, because it happened to me twice. Litterally, no controlling it...bam! Unless I dont understand the concept, but I believe I do.

  • 02-23-2009 1:09 AM In reply to

    Re: Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

    I don't have any experience of this in a medicalised setting, but I have experienced it myself when I birthed my DD - and a small crowd of people were standing around (I birthed in a public place).

    I'd been in labour for about 60 hours, and my absolutely inexperienced friend who assessed my dilation decided I was completely closed up (though I think I must have been fully open at the time), and we rushed off to the hospital. the friend exhorted me not to push, since she was sure I wasn't dilated, and would therefore damage my cervix. I tried not to push, really I did! but at some point on the bumpy road down the mountain (I lived in a tipi in a forest in Brazil at the time), the baby shifted - I felt her literally rotate from OP to OA and descend into the birth canal in one contraction. It was quite a sensation! And all the while this friend is telling me not to push and I was desperately trying not to, but my body just took over and my baby came flying out. we barely had time to stop the car; I jumped out of the car, squatted in the mud on the edge of the village soccer field, supported by DP, and with a bunch of onlookers and out she came :)

    I would guess that in medicalised births, or births with many onlookers, or where the mother isn't totally in her comfort zone, it is much less likely to experience a FER, but I'd say it's possible.

    Jesus was born unassisted!
    Filed under:
  • 02-23-2009 6:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

     In answer to your question, I think FER  can happen in a hospital if Michel's other requirements are met--quiet attendant and peaceful environment--unfortunately, that's not what you generally find in a hospital.  I had an interesting experience with a Mennonite woman expecting her 9th baby.  During one prenatal visit she asked, "Joyce, why don't I get pushing pains like other women talk about?"  In unison we both answered her question exactly the same; she said, "Is it because I don't wait long enough?" just as I said, "It's because you don't wait long enough."  She then said, "I'd like to wait, then, this time."  So I arrived at her house and found her to be completely dilated with a bulging bag of waters.  I said, "We can wait for your pushing pains, we could break your bag of water to see if that gives you pushing pains, or you could push now."  She appeared very uncomfortable with the contractions and was beginning to lose control.  "I'll wait."  she said.  To make a long story short, I talked her through her contractions and her husband held her hand as she laid in bed on her side.  She became very peaceful and relaxed.  Twenty minutes later I heard that unmistakeable grunt.  I whispered, "That's your pushing pain.  Stay relaxed and let your body do the work of pushing, try your best not to help it."  Ten minutes after that her water broke and startled her out of her trance.  Two more contractions and she turned on her back as the baby crowned and her baby was born with that push.  Within moments, she said, "That didn't hurt at all.  All my others burned when the baby was born."  The next day she said she never felt better after a baby.  I'm not sure if this was a true FER, but it was a beautiful, peaceful, natural birth and it was nice to see her 41-year-old body do for the first time what it was built perfectly to do.

  • 02-23-2009 7:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

    I experienced FER with my second baby... I couldn't NOT push and he was coming with or without my help (ie. intentional pushing).  I experienced it to a certain degree with my third baby also but I was getting a lot of mixed signals due to a compound presentation.

    I believe it can happen anywhere and with anyone... if the mom can go into her zone then it can happen.  

    I am a CPM in solo home birth practice
  • 02-23-2009 9:48 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Odent on Fetal Ejection Reflex

    FER is certainly powerful and I experienced it during my last birth (at home with a midwife).  I was standing up, leaning over on  the bed when I started pushing totally involuntarily but irresistably.  I threw myself on all fours on the bed and kept pushing.  Nobody told me what to do, I just did it.  I was totally in the zone, as others of you had put it.  It was the coolest thing I've ever experienced.

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.

Page 1 of 1 (6 items)
Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine
Contact UsTerms of UsePrivacy PolicyAbout Us
© 2014 Midwifery Today, Inc.