Positions For A More Comfortable Childbirth Delivery
Labor positions are as old as time itself. Many women do not feel comfortable with the traditional labor position and try out different ones to ease the pain and deliver the baby safely. You might have done your research already, reading books and watching videos on how the delivery will proceed. It might be overwhelming to think about all the things that you need to look out for, and the actual labor might make you feel nervous and stressed.
How bad will the pain be? Will I need a c-section? How will I feel afterward?
Having a baby is hard work; maybe that’s why they called it labor... In this article, I will tell you all about labor positions, which ones are recommended, and whether they could ease pain and make delivery easier on you.
You don't need to stick with the traditional on-your-back labor position that you see on TV. It’s your labor, and you decide if you want a totally different position or switch during the delivery to another one, or even do three throughout the delivery. You can ask your midwife, nurse, or doctor about the various positions. Don’t worry; it's really common for moms to use different labor positions, especially if you don’t take any medication, as every woman has to wait to push until the cervix is fully dilated, which can be quick or take longer depending on your case. Different labor positions can also ease the wait.
Why use different labor positions?
Even though it is called labor, you still can be as comfortable as possible while giving birth, and that’s what labor positions are for - to provide you with more comfort and ease your pain, as well as open your pelvis and give the baby more room.
Common labor positions to try that might ease the pain:
There are many labor positions out there. I will give you a list of all the common positions and take out three of them which have the best result and are very common to help many women ease the pain.
This labor position works with gravity—and while in delivery, gravity can be your best friend.
Your baby will move down the birth canal easier, and your pelvis might have an easier time opening up. You can’t give birth walking around, but it might be a good way to get things going beforehand.
This beloved exercise will come in handy again in labor. It allows the baby to have more room and opens the pelvis.
Hands and Knees
Another great way to open up the pelvis and might take the pressure off your spine and ease back pain, as well as give the baby more oxygen.
Gravity comes in handy again when you sit down. You get some rest, and the perineum can be relaxed, which will reduce tearing.
Laying on Your Side
You can lay on your side and place a pillow or ball between your legs. This will help the baby move into the correct position. It also makes it easier to relax and can be used if you have high blood pressure.
It seems strange, but lunges can actually help rotate the baby and give it more room. Get someone to support you when making these movements.
Certain Scenarios Might Require Different Positions
If you have an epidural (the medication injected in your epidural around your spinal cord), you won’t be able to walk around too much. Lying on your side or sitting down might be an option for you.
If your baby's heart rate is monitored, you can still try the positions lying on your side, sitting, or squatting.
Can there be any complications while I try a labor position?
There are cases where certain labor positions can change how your baby’s heart beats, but the midwife, nurse, or doctor will let you know if you have to change positions. The lying on your back position can be advised against because it can put pressure on your blood vessels.
All in all, there can be complications in any position, but with your doctor or nurse there, they will monitor you and the baby, so there should be nothing to worry about. Switching from one labor position to another can be beneficial, though.
The three best labor positions for a comfortable delivery
So what are the three best labor positions for a mostly comfortable delivery?
Obviously, that might be different for everyone, depending on your situation and body. Maybe you have had a child before, or this is your first; these are factors that can contribute to comfortable labor.
Some doctors say positions—where you are in an upright position—may reduce the duration of your labor as gravity is doing some of the work. Examples of these positions can be:
These labor positions open your pelvis and give the baby more room as well as push the baby deeper into the birth canal. If you have back pain, it can help reduce that and even make contractions less painful.
If you have high blood pressure or your baby needs constant heart monitoring, the doctor might not recommend it for you, and you can try out lying-down positions.
There may be a range of labor positions that can help you - ask your doctor or nurse what might be best for you and the baby. Generally speaking, upright positions and the help of gravity might speed up your labor a little more. These positions are for your comfort and should help you ease pain and deliver comfortably.
Your body will tell you what to do, and you will feel when to switch positions or what will work best for you. Listen to your own intuition. Sometimes you don’t even need to switch between positions too much, and in some cases, it might feel better to do many and keep moving. You can also ask your partner to support you during movements like squatting, etc.—it will make movements easier.