Position changes are very useful during labor. Each position facilitates labor progress or birth differently. I believe that you instinctually know which position is ideal for the progress you need to make at that time. It may take encouragement and suggestion to help you find the position you want to be in at any given stage.
Upright positions include the slow dance, walking, lunging, bending at the waist while leaning on or over something or someone, and hugging.
Side-lying positions include the bicycle position, and exaggerated SIMS. Both of these positions can be enhanced with the use of a peanut ball.
Squatting positions are often related to primitive birth and include supported squats, rebozo supported squats, and the use of a birth bar or birth stool. Squatting positions help the pelvis to open up to widest capacity; coupled with gravity, squatting can be an intense yet incredibly effective position to labor in.
Sitting positions include being seated on the toilet, using a birth ball, rocking in a rocking chair, sitting reclined in a hospital bed, etc. Sitting positions use gravity and are great if you’re baby’s heart rate is being monitored or you need a rest.
Hands and knees positions include cat/cow positions, pelvic rocking, and of course being on all four on the floor or bed.
Equally as important as the variety of positions themselves, is the movement required to shift from one to another.
Envision moving from a standing position to a hands and knees position on the floor. All of this shifting and bending moves your pelvis around in ways that allow baby to move into an ideal position for birth. Position changes can help labor progress due to pelvic movement and by allowing different parts of the cervix to receive more or less pressure. The movement can also be a welcome distraction or “busy work” when you need a change of pace.
Our doulas can help you find the perfect position to labour in at any given time. Let us be your guide.
We encourage you to do what “feels” best and not what seems most logical. So while it may seem ideal to be upright, your instincts could be screaming at you to side-lie for any number of reasons. Your body is wise. Let it do it’s work.
Do you have a position you are hoping to try to labor in?