Traditionally in a hospital setting women are placed flat on their backs while in labor and when they push their baby out. There are numerous reasons why this position is not ideal for labor. The first is that while laying flat on your back your uterus compresses and constricts major blood vessels which can deprive baby from oxygen. While reclining on your back can also put baby’s head in a position which creates even more pressure on your pelvis/ sacrum— increasing the pain (even more so) during contractions. If you’re wondering why this position is so widely used throughout western society, you’re not the only one. Birth advocates would suggest that it’s for the doctors convenience….
Although now with our modern technology a mother whose had an epidural has no other choice but to be confined to one position throughout labor and delivery.
More and more mamas-to be and enlightend doulas, midwives and practioners are realizing that this position is no longer proving to be most efficient. In ancient times, women in labor would most likely be squatting, using the force of gravity to assist with bringing her baby into the world.
Here are a few more labor positions:
- Standing, walking, leaning: all vertical positions have been shown to move baby down into birth canal. Thanks gravity!
- Swaying back and forth and moving hips also allowing baby to move productively down the birth canal.
- Squatting: using this position while actual pushing opens up the pelvis even more so. Use your partner for support or a squatting bar which the hospital might have.
- Birthing balls to sit can be used for rocking in circular motions or side to side with your hips allowing your pelvis to open and stretch.
- On all fours has been shown to ease back labor by doing pelvic tilts. This is also a great position to have your partner massage your lower back.
- Laying on your side which is a much better alternative position then lying on your back if you’ve had an epidural. This position can also aid in a “too fast” labor to help prevent tearing.
Moving and re-positioning yourself throughout labor can work magic! By allowing yourself to freely move around and listening to your body, you tap into your own innate ability and wisdom to giving birth.