Choosing a Labor Position

The Best Positions

There isn't just one best birthing position for you. In fact, it's a good idea to change position during your labor so you don't develop a cramp or strain your muscles. And don't forget to use pillows as support. Here are some effective birthing positions to consider:

Standing: The more upright you are, the more you let gravity aid you. During the first stage, simply walking around can help your labor progress, but take care not to become too tired.

Sitting: 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.

Kneeling: If you want to remain upright, but no longer feel comfortable walking, try kneeling on a pillow. This can help if baby is pressing against your spine.

Lying on your side: A sideways position is good if you're tired or have had an epidural. It takes weight off the main blood supply to the baby and reduces tension on your perineum.

Squatting: Squatting is ideal for the second stage of labor, but it may be difficult to sustain without support. Many women find sitting on the toilet comfortable. Try squatting supported by another person, a beanbag, or a low stool.

On hands and knees: If upright positions are tiring, or the contractions are too fast or overwhelming, an all-fours position is useful. It gets gravity to work for you. It can slow down contractions, and is also good for easing back labor. which occurs when the baby is positioned with the back of his head pressing against the rear of your pelvis.

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