Best Positions for Enduring Labor in Childbirth

Gravity is your friend. The best positions for the changing intensity of labor and delivery are those that help the baby move down the birth canal. Squatting is better than standing; standing is better than sitting; sitting is better than lying down; finally, lying on your side is better than flat on your back.

In order for labor to progress, the baby’s head must stretch the cervix. If you don’t have gravity helping you, all that work will be done by the muscles of your uterus. Simply standing up will open your cervix about 20% more than it was while you were lying down.

Squatting is actually best position for labor and birth. When you are squatting, you have straightened out the curve in the birth canal which helps labor progress more quickly and easily. If you aren’t squatting, then your muscles have to force the baby through that curve by power. That means more pain on your end.

Squatting can be tiring for someone not used to squatting. You can use the hospital bed to get almost the same effect without getting your legs too tired. Set the bed up like a chair and ask for the squat bar. Most hospitals have them. The bars are usually stored away in some closet because they aren’t asked for very often. Have it set up on the bed and now you have a railing to hold onto while you squat on the bed.

Another way to use the squat position is to put the head of the bed straight up and down. Then you turn around and lean the front of your body onto the mattress. You can squat on your knees in this position. When you need to rest you can hang your body over the top of the mattress. You can even birth the baby in this position.

Walking and physical activity are great for labor. Walking helps you not only by using gravity, but the movement of your body and hips help move the baby’s head into the correct position for birth. Simply standing and swaying your hips during a contraction will help you get the most out of that contraction.

A rocking chair can be a very comfortable place to take some rest during your labor. The rocking motion is very soothing and sitting can be a relief during this intense period of time.

Sometimes you don’t want to speed things along and need to rest. Being on your hands and knees can take the pressure off your back. It also takes the baby’s head off your cervix. This position can help a baby turn from a posterior presentation. Getting on your hands and knees on the floor isn’t comfortable, but try it on the mattress of the bed. Your labor may not progress as quickly, but it relieves the intense pain of back labor.

If you have an epidural, you will be limited in the types of positions that you can use. You will not have the use of your legs because of the anesthetic. You can use side lying positions and move from your left side to your right side.

You will want to use a variety of positions during labor. The most comfortable position for labor will change throughout the course of your labor and birth. A position can change from feeling great to awful in a heartbeat. If one position stops working for you, move to another one. Gravity positions and physical activity will help speed your labor.