are different birthing positions that you can try to find
out which one gives you more comfort and less pain during
labour and delivery. If one position is uncomfortable then
it's a good idea to change position during your labour so
you don't develop a cramp or strain your muscles. Try out
a position for a few contractions. If it works, stay with
it. If not, switch to a new position in between contractions.
Changing positions is good not only for the mother's comfort,
but also to change the shape of the birth canal to help the
baby make the required movements prior to birth, and to ensure
on-going oxygen supply to the foetus. And don't forget to
use pillows to give you enough support.
Here are some effective birthing
positions with their respective advantages and disadvantages:
The more upright you are, the more you let gravity aid you.
During the first stage, simply walking around can help your
labour progress, but take care not to become too tired. Upright
position helps in dilating your cervix and widening your pelvic
opening. The contractions are stronger and less painful. It
helps in bringing oxygen to the muscles in your uterus and
to the baby thereby causing less stress on the baby. However
the disadvantage is that during delivery the attendant will
face lot of problems visualizing the baby and also will have
a poor control on the delivery.
Try sitting with one knee bent and the other relaxed. Don't
lean too far back. When you sit, your uterus drops forward,
improving the blood supply to the contracting muscles and
easing pressure on your diaphragm. Use cushions or your partner
for support. Sitting position helps relax perineum (the area
between the vagina and the rectum). However if you are trying
the sitting position on the toilet seat then it can cause
pain because of pressure on toilet seat.
position should be tried with pillows underneath knees, arms,
and back. During contractions, can wrap hands around knees
and pull knees up toward shoulders (as in squatting). It is
comfortable for mom since there is a good use of gravity.
It works well in hospital beds. For doctors there is a good
view of perineum and easy access to perineum.
If you want to remain upright, but no longer feel comfortable
walking, try kneeling on a pillow. Put your hands on the bed,
and knees comfortably apart. This can help if baby is pressing
against your spine. In this position contractions are less
painful and more productive. Relieves backache and assists
in rotation of the baby.
Lying on your side:
A sideways position is good if you're tired or have had an
epidural or if you have high blood pressure. It takes weight
off the main blood supply to the baby and reduces tension
on your perineum. This position also speeds up labour and
the contractions are less painful and more effective. The
disadvantage is that access of baby's fetal heart tone is
poor if the mother is lying on same side as baby's back.
Squatting is ideal for the second stage of labour, but it
may be difficult to sustain without support. Many women find
sitting on the toilet comfortable. Try squatting supported
by another person, or a low stool. In squatting position the
pelvis opens, gravity is enhanced and there is a sense of
control for mom. It encourages rapid descent of the baby and
also helps in rotation of baby. During squatting, the average
pelvic outlet is 28% greater than in the supine position.
Stand, or sit back to relax in between contractions. However
this position is often tiring for mothers.
On hands and knees:
If upright positions are tiring, or the contractions are too
fast or overwhelming, an all-fours position is useful. Arch
your back occasionally for increased comfort. It gets gravity
to work for you. It can slow down contractions, and is also
good for easing back labour, which occurs when the baby is
positioned with the back of his head pressing against the
rear of your pelvis and hemorrhoids. It's the best position
to avoid laceration or need for episiotomy. It's a good delivery
position for large baby. The only slight difficulty is delivering
the baby since the baby has to be passed through mother's
This position is often used in hospitals. In this position
the mom has to lie on her back, feet in stirrups. It is advisable
not to use this position. There is risk of supine hypotension;
increased risk of tearing or episiotomy, pushing the baby
uphill minimizes pelvic dimensions. Most convenient position