Most of the time we imagine the mother laying back in the hospital bed, possibly with her legs strapped into the stirrups, and just breathing until it’s time to push. Sadly, this is what too often happens and it inhibits more than helps when you’re in labor. You need to get out of the mindset that movies and television popularly portray.
Positions For Labor
There are a number of positions for labor that you can be in during your labor that will have a much greater impact on helping you progress effectively. The best thing you can do during labor is to change positions often and keep moving as much as possible. But in the moment, it may become difficult to remember all the varying ways you can labor.
The best thing you can do during labor is to change positions often and keep moving as much as possible.
Here’s a list that will help you.
Standing And Swaying
Sometimes just standing there, perhaps even leaning on your husband is most comfortable. Many women don’t like sitting because the added pressure against a chair or bed is uncomfortable against their pelvis and bottom. Taking away that pressure and freely rocking can be quite desirable. When I was in labor with my third baby, the moment we got into the delivery room, all I wanted to do was stand next to the bed and wait a moment before getting ready to push.
Hands And Knees
If you have lower back or pelvic pain in addition to your contractions, getting the weight of your belly off of your hips is very helpful. You can sway from this position too as desired. It’s also great for keeping a posterior baby from turning by allowing gravity to hold the baby there.
Using A Birthing Ball
You can do a couple of different things with your birthing ball while you labor.
- Sitting And Bouncing – The motion helps keep your baby in an engaged position while the cushion helps take off added pressure versus sitting on a chair.
- Hanging Over – While on your knees, you can lay your upper half and arms over the ball, letting your belly hang. Similar to hands and knees, but you’re not expending as much effort to hold yourself up.
- Peanut Ball – While laying on your side in an upright position, you can hold this ball between your legs to keep your pelvis open and relaxed as you lay. It’s far more effective at keeping your pelvis aligned properly than just using pillows.
Squatting is excellent because it opens up the pelvis, allowing for an extra centimeter or two of room for the baby to emerge through. You can do this a number of ways too.
- Squat Bar – Many hospital beds have a squat bar attachment on the end that you can use while in bed or out of it. In bed, you’re holding onto the bar just above your head, and you can lean on it easier. Or you can face the bed and squat while holding onto the bar higher above your head, allowing less energy to come from holding yourself upright.
- Next To A Stool – It doesn’t have to be a stool but anything waist high that you can hold onto or lean on as you squat. You could try the side of the bed, your birthing ball, a chair; it doesn’t matter, you just might want something to hold to give you support as you open up downward.
One benefit about lying completely on one side is that the weight and pressures of gravity of bodily movement is taken away and your belly can just rest alone. When you arrange your arms and legs in bent configurations as if you’re in a running post while laying down, you belly and hips aren’t strained from lack of support.
I wouldn’t recommend staying in this position for your entire labor because adjusting and movement are key. However, it can be very relaxing when you’re focusing on getting your muscles to release tension and have a Bradley birth. I never liked laying on my side because I felt like it closed my pelvis and went against all that I was trying to do to open up. But you may find it works well for you.
Sitting On The Toilet
I saved the best for last. Not really. Usually sitting is not very comfortable just on a plain chair. But when you’re on the toilet, the opening in the middle of your seat allows the pressure in your pelvis to open downward and can be much more comfortable on your behind.
One word of caution, though: if you have urges to push as you’re sitting there, GET UP. It’s a natural inclination to push while we’re sitting on the toilet—thank you biology and bathroom breaks. But if you’re not fully dilated and the time isn’t right, you don’t want to have to try and force yourself to stop. And if you actually are ready to push properly, I doubt you want to birth your baby in the toilet. Yikes.
Just be aware of where you are in the progression of your labor before you rest on the jon.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter what position you’re in during labor, as long as you’re NOT LAYING DOWN ON YOUR BACK. Or even leaning back for that matter. Changing positions often and moving as much as possible before it’s time to deliver is the best thing you can do to further your labor along in the most efficient way possible. Just move, move, move.
If moving around isn’t a problem and trying to find the relaxation is, take a look at the book that helped me get through my labor. I never knew how to relax or even understood what I was going to experience until I read Dr. Bradley’s book.
You may also plan to be in certain positions and practice ahead of time, then find out that what you intended isn’t as comfortable as you wanted. For years I’ve wanted to birth squatting but have yet to achieve it. So being open to changes is just fine.
Reply below and let me know what position you want to birth your baby in. What’s in your plans?
Favorites In This Post:
- Fitness Exercise Stability Yoga Gym Birthing Ball, because it’s great for more than just labor & delivery
- Peanut Ball For Labor, it’s the hottest new tool, even if you’re not going naturally