SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



What's Your Favorite Childbirth Position?

Sitting is a great position and has many fine benefits during childbirth. The major advantage is that is both comfortable for the mother and the person delivering the baby, and pretty easy to get in. Sitting also allows for more control during active pushing and only lets your lean back so far during rest times so you don’t have to move so far. Birthing Beds are great for this type of delivery. They sit upright and the bottom falls under or comes off so the birthing process will be easier for the doctor. All you have to do is lean forward and push during contractions and lean back on your pillows after they have gone. You are also pushing with gravity in this position so the baby is having an easier time, as is your body. The only real disadvantage is that sitting on your tailbone too long may not be comfortable and you really don’t have much freedom to move. It is possible to have a hard time getting the baby’s head to come down and out. In addition, the added uneven pressure on the vagina can increase the likelihood of ripping, tearing, or needing to have an episiotomy.

The side-lying position is popular and very comfortable. You will pick a side to lie on and can even rotate from side to side every few hours to keep things moving along. This allows your partner to put counter pressure on your back and massage you as well. During the pushing phase you will rise up one elbow and hold your leg up and open with your other hand, bending at the knee. When it is between pushes, just let go of your leg and roll off your elbow until the next contraction comes and then resume position. This is a great position for those ladies with back labor or severe back pain with contractions. It takes a bit more to push, but it also helps stretch the area around the vagina to avoid ripping or tearing. The only real disadvantage is the fact that you are not pushing with gravity, so it may take a bit longer for your baby to emerge. Most doctors know this position and are comfortable with it, while others may not be too familiar.

One the most comfortable positions that doctors are not too familiar with is the mom on her hands and knees. Most women who love this position just had an instinctive need to do it and found it the best for them. It makes active pushing so much better and opens up the perineal area really well. The resting phase may be harder and it might be necessary to have help moving to and from this position or practice it before labor. This position will also encourage a “sunny side up” baby to possibly turn around. If you suspect that the baby is in a posterior presentation, then roll on all fours. Back pain is tremendously reduced in this position as well. It also uses gravity to it full advantage, which makes pushing better and easier and reduces the risk of shoulder issues on the baby.

The best gravity maximizing and most comfortable childbirth position is the squatting position. This position just opens all those pelvic muscles right up and promotes a very easy pushing time. This position may be hard to achieve and the best way is with a birthing bar above the bed for the mom to hold on to when pushing and hang from when resting. It can be accomplished by having a person on either side of the mother, holding her up and adding to her balance for her while she pushes. A good alternative is a birthing ring, which looks like a potty chair with no bucket. The woman sits on this like a toilet with her legs apart and her partner seated behind her supporting her back with his chest. She and her partner rest their elbows on his thighs and lock hands. During a contraction she bears down and uses the arms as leverage. During the resting phase she can lean on her partner. This position allows for both parents and four arms to catch the baby as it emerges.

In the United States, the most common and uncomfortable position is lying on your back with your feet in stirrups or being supported by two people. Doctors like this position because it gives them the best eye space and control on the baby. Most women hate this position and it doesn’t provide for much movement. The pressure of the baby’s head on the back and tailbone can be excruciating for many women. This also means the mother is pushing against gravity which is worse than anything and can cause the mother to have a long pushing session. As with any decision you make regarding your pregnancy and your baby, you also need to decide what works best for you during delivery. Choose a position that is good for you and works to your advantage.

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