The most effective laboring positions for giving birth are the ones that help baby descend through the birth canal the easiest and quickest. There are positions that make the contractions more painful or less painful; some positions add unnecessary pressure others relieve pressure. Working with your partner and birth Doula can help you find the most effective laboring positions for your labor. Here are a few effective laboring position tips for your birth:
Walking, Standing and Leaning are effective to help stimulate effective contractions and the use of gravity to help baby’s descent. You can use the wall, chair, kitchen counter, your partner, Doula, sofa, etc. to stand against or lean on through contractions. Adding some gentle hip movement to help you get through your contractions will help the contractions be that more effective.
Kneeling can help relieve back pain and help baby rotate into the most optimal position for birth. You can lean over a chair, birth ball, pillows or simply on your hands and knees. When your belly hangs it gives baby room to maneuver and pulls the pressure off your lower back.
Sitting uses gravity and allows you to rest during contractions. You can sit on a birth ball, chair, birth stool, toilet, bed, floor, on your partners lap or wherever you feel the most comfortable. One of the most effective sitting positions I have observed being a Doula is sitting backwards on the toilet. Lay a pillow on the water tank of the toilet, lid open and have a sit. This position opens up your pelvis for baby to descend and brings on those effective contractions. Your partner or birth Doula can apply some lower back counter pressure if needed to alleviate unwanted back pain during contractions.
Squatting is another effective position that uses gravity and allows your pelvis to open up to 30% more allowing more room for baby to descend into your pelvis.
These effective laboring positions can be used at your ideal birthing space, home, birth center or in most hospitals. You can use these positions as your body indicates to use them and through your entire labor. If you are planning on using pain medications during labor, in most cases you will be confined to a bed. Having your baby in the lithotomy position (lying on your back) is the common picture we think about when women give birth. This is not the most effective birth position, but sometimes it is the necessary position to birth your baby. Your birth Doula can help you with effective labor positions in bed to help move your baby through the birth canal in this position. You can use any of the above laboring positions as long as you can to progress your labor along before you feel you need medicated pain relief.
Today’s birthing scene is changing. More and more birthing families are wanting to take control over their birth. Listen to your body. Your body knows how to birth your baby! Happy Birthing!
Krisha Crosley CD(DONA), BBCD
Serenity Life Doula