One way we can make birth more comfortable, easier, and faster is to move around and use various positions for laboring out of bed. Allowing yourself freedom of movement throughout makes active labor more comfortable and the baby is able to come down more easily. (Buy and download the labor positions pdf here.)
This handout includes illustrations showing the best positions for active, upright birth. It explains the benefits of each labor position and gives tips for faster and more comfortable birth through position changes. Great for birth class, or doulas teaching about natural birth or for couples who want to remember other options in labor.
Using Natural Labor Positions
One of the misnomers of birth is that the baby is just hanging there, waiting to be pushed out. In fact, babies have their own set of movements to complete and need to make their way around the pelvis and through the pelvic floor. Some babies will do that even if you’re laying on your back the whole time. But most will need some help wiggling their way down.
Taking the freedom of movement and being active in labor is one of the main ways that we listen to our bodies and enjoy the benefits of physiologic birth.
No one, laboring in their own space, on their own terms, would choose to lay on their back for the duration of labor. Movement helps the baby come down, and because of this, it helps lessen the intensity of labor.
Parents generally find that the best positions for labor are those that feel good. If you can’t move around in labor, the contractions won’t be as effective and will feel more intense.
Labor Positions out of bed
Without an epidural (or in some cases with a ‘walking epidural’), you can move around and stay more comfortable all while helping your baby come down.
Many of these positions will make back pain easier to handle and may help a posterior baby turn, alleviating back pain.
The labor positions handout pdf download available here details eight ways to labor naturally:
- hands and knees
The birth partner has a broader role to play when active labor positions are used. There are also many way to use the Rebozo, massage, and use comfort measures as you move around.
Download the handout for labor positions and use it in your birth classes, doula work, or however you help pregnant families!