Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Positions of Labor and Birth

The position you should labor and give birth in is the position that is most comfortable for you and which uses gravity to help pull the baby down the birth canal.  If you are listening to your body and spirit, you will automatically feel the need to change position when it is the right time to do so.  The best positions are those which keep you pretty much upright and able to move around as you feel the need.  The worst positions are those in which you are lying down.  If you must lie down to rest, lying on your left side (with your right leg elevated if you are in the delivery stage) is best, but you should not lie down for a long period of time.  Your contractions will be more effective, less uncomfortable, and your labor shorter than if you were lying down.  Here is a summary of those positions most often used:

Upright Positions
Standing Supported Squat - supported by partner or wall
Supported Kneeling - supported by birthing ball, bean bag chairs, couch, bed
     low table, or pile of pillows
Supported Squatting - supported by sitting partner, wall, squat bar, or hanging
     suspended rope

Hands and Knees

Supine of lithotomy position

I do not suggest you ever lie on your back after 34 weeks gestation, because this causes the uterus to depress some major blood vessels, impairing oxygen to the baby.  I also do not suggest you labor or birth in any position which depresses the tailbone, which can  obstruct the birth passage.  Squatting pulls the tailbone out of the way.  Even the semi-reclining position causes some obstruction for some people.

Watch the video "Birth in the Squatting Position" 

Benefits of the Squatting Position:

Puts your body in the natural position that literally propels the baby down the birth canal without pushing.

Provides 30% more room in the pelvis for the baby to pass through.

Helps the tissues to stretch naturally so that no episiotomy is neceessary.

These women in the video, did you notice they are not crying, screaming or carrying on the way most women you see on television do?  It is a calm, peaceful experience. 

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