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Labor Positions

abor can be a scary thought especially if it’s your first child and you have absolutely no idea what to expect. We watch movies and we see how women are supposed to labor which is usually on their back in a bed. But what if we were told that there were other ways we could labor that could actually be beneficial to speed labor up and making it more tolerable. Movement during labor can aid in distraction from the pain, help you focus on your breathing and make the pain more tolerable. There is no right or wrong position for labor however, focusing on multiple different positions throughout your labor journey could make it a smoother experience for you.
1. Standing supported squat

What I like about this position from personal laboring experience and doula experience is it gives the laboring person a chance to hold onto whatever they want. They can grab a table, chair and even a supportive person. This position is great because it works well with gravity which brings the baby down into the birth canal, may relieve back ache and of course brings you closer to a support person.

2. Sitting

Sitting can be very helpful especially if you have your legs open allowing the pelvis to be open. One thing that can be a downside to sitting during labor is it isn’t always the most comfortable but it helps if you need to rest.

3. Walking

This is one of my go to for mamas as it keeps you moving and gravity can do its thing as well as it is a great distraction. Walking and talking and carrying conversation keeps the mind distracted as well as helps the baby come down.

4. Squatting

One thing that is great about squatting during labor is you can hold onto things and people while gravity does it’s job. This position can also help baby stay into a positive position in the birth canal as well as requires less bearing down since you will be up right. One thing that is hard about this position is that it can be tiring and exhausting.

5. Side lying

This position is great because it can give your body a chance to rest and relax in between contractions. Your partner if present can be supportive in this position by helping hold your legs and giving you support pillows or a peanut ball to make this resting position more comfortable. A small downside to laboring in this position is that it makes it hard for gravity to do its job.

6. Hands and knees

This position is great as it helps open the pelvis as well as take away some pressure from your lower back if you are experiencing back labor. This position may make your arms tired but overall it is a great position.

7. Birthing Ball positions

Birth balls can provide comfort as you shift your body around allowing you to rest as well as work your baby down at the same time. You can sit on the ball and rotate your hips, bounce or even use it to drape your body over it to relieve some back and hip pressure.

8. Lunging position

Lunging doesn’t really sound appealing especially when you are somewhat round in the middle and the thought of lunging your leg in a workout motion- However it can be great when bringing baby down. You can put your foot up onto the chair when you feel a contraction coming on and lean your body forward. This can help baby rotate and/or descend all while helping the pelvis open which gives baby more room.

9. Birthing bar position

The birthing bar is an attachment that can be added to many different labor beds to help support you while in labor. With the bar added you can sit up and squat during a contraction which can be great for distraction and support. You can stand on the floor and squat and hold the bar during a contraction or while pushing as well. This position helps the pelvis and uses gravity to push the baby down.

10. Kneeling birth position

Sometimes the baby isn’t in optimal position for birth, which can be hard when trying to get baby to further descend into the birth canal. Kneeling onto a lowered bed, birth ball or leaning into a partner that may be on the floor with you can help baby turn and face into the proper position. Kneeling can also give mom a break when her back is aching as leaning forward can help stretch the back as well as give her relief in between contractions.

Questions to ask yourself when in labor:

  • 1] Does this feel comfortable for me?
  • 2] Do I feel this is the right position for me and baby?
  • 3] When I think of the birth that I want, is this position going to help me achieve that goal?
  • 4] Is my partner or birth support person able to help me in this position?
  • 5] Is my provider being supportive of my birth?