Positions For Giving Birth

When thinking about labour, many women find themselves worrying about positions for giving birth and what is going to be best for them. There are various different positions in which you can give birth. Which position you choose really depends on what you feel comfortable with and what suits you best at the time.

Positions During Labour

During your labour it is a good idea to be on your feet as much as possible if you feel you can. When you are on your feet, you are letting gravity help the whole process along, whereas lying on your back for the whole time (like they did years ago) can slow the whole thing down. Professionals will often advise that it is a good idea, during the first stage of labour, to be up and about, walking around as much as possible. You will probably find though, that you will need someone or something to lean on when the contractions come.

Alternatively, you could find a position on all fours that you find comfortable, propping yourself up with beanbags or pillows. This position is very good for encouraging your baby to turn to the correct position for delivery.

Some women like to sit facing backwards on a chair, with pillows to lean on. This position is ideal for your birth partner to be able to rub your back for you.

For those considering giving birth in water, a birthing pool comes highly recommended as the warm water helps to relieve the pain and keep you calm. This can be used for part of the labour, or right through the delivery if you wish.

Click here for more information on Water Births

Positions For Delivery

The same principle about letting gravity work for you applies when your baby is being delivered. There are definitely some positions for giving birth that seem to work better for women than others.

The shape of the birth canal through which your baby passes is affected by your tail bone. Because this has a slight curl up at the end towards your pubic bone, it means that laying on your back can make for a harder time when it comes to pushing your baby down the birth canal.

Women giving birth on their backs have to work against gravity to get their baby's head past the curl of their tail bone and that can make the delivery take a bit longer.

So, laying on your back isn't ideal. However, for some women, me included, it's unavoidable because if you have an epidural and you are wired up to monitors and drips, then you have no choice but to be on your back.

So what are some of the better positions for delivering your baby?

Some have tried a birthing stool, which looks a little like a toilet seat, but enables the midwife to access down below. This takes the weight off your feet whilst keeping you in a squatting position. Also, your birthing partner can position themselves behind you for support.

Many women have given birth in a standing position. To do this you will likely need your birth partner to lean on for support and may want something next to you so you can put one foot up. This will allow your legs to be spread as much as possible, making access easier for your midwife.

In a birthing pool you can try a few different positions for giving birth, like squatting, laying back or leaning forward on all fours. You can support yourself on the edge of the pool or have your partner there for support.

Of course there is also the all fours position either on the floor with cushions or on the bed. You can use beanbags, cushions or your partner for support. In this position, your tail bone doesn't present so much of an obstacle.

So, as you can see, there is lots of choice when it comes to positions for giving birth. It really depends on what you feel comfortable with at the time, but just remember that the choice is yours and you are free to try whatever position you like. Most midwives nowadays are happy to let you find whichever position suits you best.

Click here to return to the Giving Birth page

Return to Home Page from Positions For Giving Birth