Labor Positions to Ease Pain (With Photos)

The standard hospital labor position—semi- or fully reclining—is not ideal. When you're lying on your back, your uterus compresses major blood vessels, potentially depriving the baby of oxygen and making you dizzy or queasy. Try one of these positions instead to ease your pain and discomfort during contractions.

Soothing Labor Positions

When you're reclining during labor contractions, the baby's head puts pressure on pelvic nerves in your sacrum. But remaining upright and leaning forward reduces this pressure while allowing your baby's head to constantly bear down on your cervix.

The result? Dilation tends to occur more quickly. Here are six labor positions to try — those marked with an asterisk(*) can be used if you receive an epidural, though you may need support.

RELATED: Choosing a Labor Position

Swaying (AKA Slow Dancing)

Swaying: Wrap your arms around your partner's neck or waist and sway as if you are slow dancing. This is a great position to receive a back rub.


Lunging: Raise one foot onto a chair or footstool and lean forward.

RELATED: How to Make Labor Easier


Squatting: Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair and squat. You can also squat against a wall or between your partner's legs while he or she sits in a stable chair.

RELATED: Ins and Outs of Squatting Births


Rocking: Gently rock while sitting on a chair, the edge of the bed or a birthing ball.

Hands and Knees*

Hands and Knees: Get on all fours on the bed, a yoga mat or on the floor.

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