LABOR POSITIONS. ACTIVE BIRTH

Movement and positioning in labor work magic. Movement enhances comfort by stimulating the receptors in the brain that decrease pain perception. The result is that you are able to tolerate increasingly strong contractions. When contractions become very strong, endorphins are released and pain perception decreases even more. Ultimately, your movement in response to your contractions decreases pain and facilitates labor – a win-win. Movement also helps the baby move through the pelvis, and some positions enlarge pelvic diameters.

The positions shown here facilitate the normal, natural process of labor. What position should you use? Follow your body. Move freely in response to what you feel. Your body will let you know just what position is best at every point in your labor.

 

STANDING SUPPORTED SQUAT

Pros

  • Realigns your pelvis to increase the opening by up to 15 percent
  • Allows you to be supported by your standing or sitting partner, the wall or a squat bar
  • Takes advantage of gravity
  • Makes contractions feel less painful and more productive
  • Lengthens your trunk and helps your baby line up with the angle of your pelvis
  • Movement causes changes in your pelvic joints, helping your baby through the birth canal
  • May increase your urge to push in the second stage of labor

Cons

  • Requires a strong partner
  • May be tiring for both of you
  • Possible increased blood loss

SITTING ON TOILET

Pros

  • Helps relax perineum
  • You get used to an open-leg position and pelvic pressure
  • Uses gravity

Cons

  • Pressure from toilet seat may be uncomfortable

SITTING

Pros

  • Good for resting
  • Uses gravity
  • Can be used with continuous electronic fetal monitoring

Cons

  • May not be possible if you have high blood pressure

WALKING

Pros

  • Uses gravity
  • Contractions are often less painful
  • Baby is well aligned in your pelvis
  • May speed labor
  • Reduces backache
  • Encourages descent

Cons

  • Not recommended if you have high blood pressure
  • Can only be used with continuous electronic fetal monitoring if telemetry unit is available 

SQUATTING

Pros

  • Encourages rapid descent
  • Uses gravity
  • May increase rotation of baby
  • Allows freedom to shift your weight for comfort
  • Allows excellent perineal access
  • Excellent for fetal circulation
  • May increase pelvis diameter by as much as 2 centimeters
  • Requires less bearing-down effort 
  • Descent is encouraged by the position
  • Your thighs keep baby well aligned

Cons

  • Often tiring
  • Sometimes hard for health-care provider to hear fetal heart tones
  • May be hard for you to assist in birth if you wish to do so
  • Possible increased blood loss

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT OTHER POSTURES.