Birthing Positions

If you've just discovered you're pregnant, then the positions you'll be giving birth in are probably the furthest thing from your mind. But it's never too early to consider what you'll do during labor and delivery and how you'll use birth positions to help manage labor pain.

Avoid the Flat on Your Back Position

Since the Victorian era women have been encouraged to give birth while lying flat on their backs. It's a position that doctors seem to prefer because it's more convenient for them to see what's going on, but it's completely impractical from a birthing perspective. Lying down can be extremely uncomfortable plus you won't be able to experience the benefits of gravity. If you remain upright, gravity will help push your baby's head down into the neck of the womb (cervix) which can help move the baby through the pelvis and help the cervix dilate. The limited research available on birthing positions suggests that women who remain upright and mobile during labor tend to need fewer pain management drugs and can have shorter labors that women confined to their beds.

Good Birthing Positions

Basically any position that helps you remain upright and take advantage of gravity is a good birthing position. You'll want to experiment with positions to find one that works best for you. Don't forget to avoid pushing yourself too much since labor can be long and you don't want to be prematurely exhausted. Take rests and do lie down when you get a chance to, especially during early labor. When labor becomes more uncomfortable and requires more concentration, you'll want to try to remain in the upright position.

Here are a few positions to consider:

· Use your partner for support. Remain standing and place your arms around your partners neck or waist. Use your partner's body to help support your weight.

· Lean on the back of a chair or a table.

· Sit on a chair with a pillow resting across the top. You can place your arms on the pillow and your head on your arms. Or you can rest your head directly on the pillow.

· Sit on a toilet. You can face backwards and lean on the cistern when contractions get intense.

· Lean on a window sill or on the bed.

Other positions to consider include kneeling on all fours or kneeling on a large cushion on the floor. Some women have found that kneel on one leg with the other one bent helps open the pelvic area especially if you rock your hips in a circle or forwards and backwards.


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