The term childbirth positions (or “maternal birthing position”) refers to the physical postures the pregnant mother may assume during the process of childbirth. Labor positions are used during the labor process to help ease discomfort, move the baby down through the pelvis and encourage optimal fetal positioning. In the first stages of labor “Birthing positions are used to push baby out.
Here are some of the best birthing positions to try.
- Squatting birth positions
Squats are not only great to do during labor, but they’re also among the popular birthing positions. Remember, when it comes to labor and delivery, gravity is on your side.
- Decreases the need for certain delivery tools like forceps or a vacuum
- Helps with dilation
- Baby’s position may not be right for squatting
- Can lead to more tearing if done without a birthing stool or other aid
- Reclining birth positions
Childbirth is hard work, and you might need to take a break which is why many women opt for reclining birthing positions. Keep in mind, “reclining” can mean a number of things yes, you can lie down in bed, but you can also recline against a wall, a chair or another person.
- Can release tension and relax the muscles
- May be a good alternative if a woman is tired but doesn’t want to lie down completely
- Can work against gravity
- Birthing stool positions
A birthing stool can be used in a variety of birthing positions. Women can squat on it, get in the all fours position and use it to support the arms or even rock back and forth with it, depending on the design of the stool. Bonus: If you like the idea of a water birth, there are some birthing stool models that work in the water.
- Can help baby move farther down
- Relieves stress on the back
- Can increase dilation of the cervix
- Women may experience increased blood loss
- Birthing bar positions
The birthing bar is an attachment that can be added to many labor beds to help support birthing positions. With a birthing bar, you can sit up at any time and squat, leaning on the bar for support. The birthing bar can be an awesome tool. You can wrap a towel on it to make it easier to use and switch positions.
- Expands the pelvis
- Uses gravity to push baby down
- May not be available at all hospitals
- Kneeling birth positions
If baby is facing Mom’s abdomen instead of her back, kneeling can help them turn to get into the proper position. Kneeling is one of the most popular birthing positions because it also gives mom a much-needed break.
- Relieves pain of contractions
- Eases back pressure
- May be difficult for continuous fetal monitoring
When it comes to labor and birthing positions, discuss all options with your doctor or midwife to land on the ones that will be most comfortable and practical for you. Every baby and mom responds to positions differently. It’s the job of the labor assistant to help figure out what works best.