Today, I want to chat about the best labor and delivery positions sitting, standing, using a chair or a cushion. Do you know the best birthing positions for a comfortable delivery? Do you have a plan as to how you will spend your labor and delivery?
Maybe you will lie on your side. Or walk around. Maybe you will do a lot of squatting to push out your baby. Or maybe it'll be a combination of all the above.
These days, expectant mamas are encouraged to have their own plan so that they feel empowered and comfortable. You can change birthing positions as often as you like, and deliver your baby in birth positions far different from the old traditional methods.
Previously, you would have been told to lie on your back. But no you will be encouraged to utilize the birthing positions that you feel most comfortable with.
Movement and positioning in labor is what will help you. You see, when you are moving it enhances comfort by stimulating the receptors in the brain that decrease pain perception. When your contractions become very strong, endorphins are released and pain perception decreases even more.
By moving, in response to your contractions, you can decrease pain and better facilitate labor.
Movement also helps the baby move through the pelvis, and some positions enlarge pelvic diameters.
During labor, you need support from a friend or doula. Before you go into labor, let them know the birthing positions you want so that they can help remind you when the time comes.
Arrange to have continuous support in labor from a professional labor assistant (a doula) or a close friend or family member who makes you feel safe and confident. Ask them to remind you to try different positions or activities in labor.
A good idea is to make a list of the positions that you like best and bring it with you. My Birth Prep program is about you practicing the best positions and movements before your labor begins, so you and your partner feel comfortable and confident using them.
Labor is the process of childbirth, starting with contractions of the uterus and ending with the delivery of the baby.
Throughout your prenatal appointments, you doctor should have advised you what to do if you think you're going into labor. You should also know your due date.
Labor contractions won't all be exactly spaced out. If you find that they are becoming pretty consistent, more painful and longer (30 to 70 seconds each), then you should be calling your doctor.
What if you are not sure? I would advise you that for peace of mind you call your health care professional and explain what's going on. Now is not the time to be feeling embarrassed or worry about calling outside of office hours.
You experience any bleeding or bright red discharge (not brown or pinkish).
Your water breaks - especially if the fluid looks green or brown.
You experience blurred or double vision, a severe headache or sudden swelling.
You will likely use this squatting position only late in labor or during delivery itself. Like standing, squatting opens up the pelvis to give your baby more room to move on down.
Standing helps you work with gravity, allowing your pelvis to open and your baby to move down into your birth canal. Leaning against a wall or your partner for support during contractions is best.
Rocking, either on a chair or swaying back and forth, allows your pelvis to move and encourages the baby to descend.
Did you know that sitting can ease the pain of contractions? And allow gravity to assist in bringing your baby down into the birth canal. Sitting also helps to open up your pelvis.
May not be possible if you have high blood pressure.
Leaning forward or over a stack of pillows on a bed can be helpful when you have back labor because it encourages the baby to move forward, taking the pressure off your back.
This position allows you to do pelvic tilts for comfort, while giving your partner great access to your back for massage and counter pressure.
Lying on your side is better than lying on your back because it doesn't compress the major veins in your body.
So what labour positions are most comfortable?
To answer this question, I want you to know that the most comfortable labor position is the position that you feel most comfortable in!
In saying that, here are some positions that may be extra helpful to you:
When you have an epidural, you won't be able to walk around. There are still some labor positions will help such as; sitting or lying on your side, even when you're numb from the waist down.
You can often relieve your pain that comes from back labor by leaning over, kneeling, or getting onto your hands and knees .
You can rock, squat, lie or sit on your side during labor. Yes, even if you are being monitored for contractions and fetal heart rate.
Side-lying may be the easiest delivery position for your practitioner. But for you, it may be more comfortable for you to deliver while squatting or on hands and knees.
Lying on your back is not ideal but is OK if it suits you. You see lying on your back with a full-term baby inside your uterus can put pressure on important blood vessels, possibly compromising blood flow to the baby.
I find that upright positions such as standing, walking, squatting and sitting are ideal. Remember, this is about you finding the best birthing positions for you.
Now, I want to chat about the best labor and delivery positions using a chair or a cushion.
Movement in these positions with the support of a chair can help to relax your mind and body in preparation and during labor. I used them to have a natural, drug-free labor and quick birth of my baby boy and I want to share them with you too.
These birth preparation poses can be done using a stable chair or the side of the bed or couch.
It's also important to practice these before going into labor so you are familiar with them and can choose which ones you would like in labor.
I used many of these throughout my labor and especially in early labor when at home.
I used the dining room table and the kitchen bench to lean on rather than a chair, and it worked for me. I set myself up a yoga mat on the floor next to the couch so I could kneel down and feel supported with my knees.
As part of my Birth Prep Program I detail for you how you can go into birth feeling strong, empowered and informed.
I have been teaching women theses techniques for years, and used them in my own incredible drug-free natural labor.
In this post I will detail for you how you can use a chair (or couch) and then using just the support of cushions or, just YOU!
These next 7 positions involve using a chair.
Focusing on deep slow breaths here. Having something under your knees to support can be helpful. Relax and focus on your breathing, whilst trying to let your weight drop into the support of the chair.
Conserving energy is so important, particularly in that early stage of labor. These movements help with the hips and the back and your progression through labor. Movement is key in labor, but slow controlled movement where you don't expend too much of your energy is what you want.
Resting down in a supported child's pose. You may find you just drop into this on the side of the bed, but personally I find a harder surface like the chair or even a couch helps to settle the nervous system when you gently press your forehead onto the edge.
Just simply having your hands on the chair and leaning back can help take the weight off your back. This can also be done on the edge of the chair.
This is great for the hips and assisting the progression of your labor. Again, movement is key in those early stages particularly. Get yourself into a rhythm with this and it will help. Some music might help you wit this, be sure to check out my Birth Prep Music Playlist
Pressing your forehead against the hard surface of the chair can help settle the nervous system. I used this in the shower in the hospital, holding onto the bars in the shower and dropping down into the squat and coming up again. I felt a needs to be lower and this support helped me do this. The water on my back from the shower was blissful too.
Trying not to slouch on the couch can be hard, especially later in your pregnancy. But trust me, it's not good for you to slouch. Not good for you, your back or the position of your baby.
Slouching encourages posterior positioning of your baby, and you do not want your baby to be in posterior position. Ask any mother who has endured 'back labor' with baby' spine against your spine. It can be painful and best avoided.
Every woman deserves to go into birth feeling strong, empowered and informed. This is key to owning your birth experience. It's what I did and what I teach my PregActive Mama's to do. And I'm here to help you too.
Because I believe you are totally going to own your birthing experience and transition into motherhood with a positive memory of the day your baby arrived into the world.
You're about to discover the 5 best labor and birthing positions for you and baby using only cushions. Learn these and be empowered for labor!
If you don't have any equipment, then I recommend you use cushions. Gather up a pile and try out these positions for labor.
I set myself up on the bed at home with my TENS machine on. It was one of the first positions I used in early labour. I was trying to conserve energy as I didn't know how long I had to go.
Turns out, from the moment my waters broke in the yoga class I was in (read my birth story part one to hear all about it) until my baby boy came into this world was pretty much right on 12 hours. So for a first time birth, it was quick. Actually perfect amount of time if you ask me.
I've heard of very quick labors, and I'm happy with the duration of mine.
Working with gravity in this rested side lying position is a great position both for the rest between contractions, but also during contractions, especially later in your labor.
Allow your body to relax, open and dilate in this blissful supported child's pose.
Perfect on the bed with cushions to lie on.
You don't actually need any equipment to have a natural labor, here are a few labor and birthing positions that are safe for you and baby that require no equipment.
Being close to the ground can help you to feel grounded. You can also do this on the bed. Having your knees wide apart can help open the hips, just be careful not to go too low to the ground.
This is so grounding and a good way to relieve discomfort from your back in labour. You are working against gravity with this pose. And useful if you are needing to slow down the labor. But ideally you want your elbows to be higher (like on a chair, couch or side of the bed) if you are wanting to work with gravity and encourage the baby down.
This is so nice, just to drop down into all fours and do these slow, rhythmic circles. Be mindful of your wrists in this pose, I personally prefer having my elbows on the side of the chair, couch or bed in a more upright position.
You are soon to meet your gorgeous baby, and that is certainly something to be excited about. I work with so many women that come to me fearing birth, and working with me and my Birth Prep Program they feel stronger, more empowered and completely informed going into the birthing experience.
You are going to be the most incredible Mama-bear, remember that.
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