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 utilise 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.