He was concerned because the baby's heart rate was dropping a bit and mother was not pushing effectively. The OB resident and the nurse in the room began calling "push", too. Pretty soon another nurse chimed in, and then the mother of the laboring woman. Soon there was a cacophony of shouts and accents, all exhorting the mother to "PUSH!"
It can get a little out of hand sometimes. There can be so many people yelling at the pregnant woman - in addition to the omnipresent TV - that she must not know who to listen to. The mingled shouts, I sometimes wonder, might confuse her more than instruct her. Sometimes I'll say, a bit sarcastically, to the NICU nurse with me as we wait to take care of the baby, "Do you think she'd push better if we started yelling push, too?"
I really prefer the way the midwives approach this aspect of delivery, the time when exhortation to push is needed. The midwives usually have a calmer atmosphere, and generally are the only person instructing the patient. The nurses in the room take their cues from the midwife's manner and don't raise their voices either. In the defense of the obstetricians, though, the midwives typically have low risk deliveries where the need to get the baby out might not be as urgent; also, there are are fewer people at a midwife's delivery, since the residents and medical students are not there. And, of course, some obstetricians take the quiet approach, too.
I think of this because of the recent delivery of Katie Holmes (congratulations, Tomkat!) and the discussion of silent deliveries that the Scientology church espouses. I think the Scientologists think it is better for the baby if there is silence. It may be preferable to have a quiet room, but anyone who takes care of neonates knows that they are so incredibly resilient that a little noise isn't going to do them much harm. For the mother, though, silence might be golden, or at least preferable to a chorus of "push."
P.S. Please welcome to the blogosphere Tales from the Womb, a new blog written by a frequent commenter on my blog, the neonatologist who signs himself Cherubsinthelandoflucifer.