Healthy and Fit Pregnancy
Soothing Labor Positions

The standard labor position that most hospital births default with is the semi- or fully-reclining back labor. New practices have actually reverted to what are actually old school practices of letting the mother freely move around to encourage contractions and birth.

It may seem like a good idea to be lying down since pain and bodily discomfort would seem to be soothed by a comfortable bed. However, lying down:

• Compresses the uterus and major blood vessels, decreasing your oxygen supply as well as that of your baby’s. During labor, you and your baby need all systems going full blast and the best way to ensure that is to have good circulation and oxygen.

• Puts extra pressure on the nerves in your pelvic area, increasing the sensation of pain during contractions.

Being active as opposed to just laying on your back is thought to help labor move along more naturally. Moving around upright and being able to lean forward reduces pressure and allows your baby’s head to bear down on your cervix uninterrupted. Effacement and dilation tends to go faster and birth could be a lot easier.

Here are a few labor positions you can try. Some can even be done with an epidural, provided you have support and your doctor’s approval. You don’t have to stick to just one position as you go through labor. If you are free to move around, then you can go through them all according to what your body needs.
• Stand and lean then, slow dance: Facing your hubby, wrap your arms around each other and sway for comfort and to manage the pain. Your hubby can easily give you a back rub like this too! It will help ease the pressure and relieve some of the pain. Or you can also simply stand and lean forward against him, a wall or the bed.

stand and lean then slow dance

* Lunge: Using a chair or a footstool with a comfortable height, raise a foot and lean forward.


* Squat: Hold on to the back of a chair and squat slowly down. You can even squat using a wall for support or between your partner’s knees while he sits on a chair.


* Rocking: You can rock gently as you sit on a chair, the edge of a bed or a birthing ball. You can do this with an epidural. Sitting can also be a relaxing position as it lets you lean forward with your legs apart.


* Hands and Knees: Using a yoga mat, get on your hands and knees. With an epidural, you can also do this on the bed and the floor. This takes the weight and pressure from your back and lets you move your hips. During transition or in between contractions, you can remain on your knees and lean forward into cushions, raising your bottom to ease pressure or resist bearing down urges.

hands and knees

There are many different postures and positions that can help you as soon as you feel those contractions getting regular and more intense. As those are indications of the real deal, you would need to maximize your contractions but find ways to reduce the pain. Changing positions and going upright according to your body’s demands increases contraction effectiveness and lets gravity assist your baby’s descent.

Philippine Association for Childbirth Education

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