Most women who give birth still adopt the conventional position of lying flat on their back, but is it the best?
Recent surveys suggest not, evidence from a trial of 517 women in Cape Town SA, found that those who gave birth in an upright position experienced less pain and trauma to their genital area.
It makes sense that an upright position must be best, since gravity will help the contractions of the uterus. Sitting up on the bed while laying on your back still has disadvantages, in that the pelvis is restricted in a sitting position and cannot open to its widest points to allow the delivery of the babies head.
Here is a list of birthing positions that may help you.
Kneeling on all fours in labour has many advantages. You can rest between contractions and don’t need to lift yourself up to push. Gravity works to your advantage and helps your baby settle down in the birth canal.
Sitting in an upright position is also useful. This way, you don’t have to lift yourself up to push; gravity, again, works to your advantage.
However, it can be difficult for the midwife to follow the progress of your labour closely. As a result, you will sometimes need to adopt the kneeling position for a short time.
Squatting is a good position when the time comes to push, but it can put a strain on your knees and back.
For this reason, some maternity wards have small birthing stools. Alternatively, it may be suggested that your partner supports you under the arms, from behind.
Standing or walking is an option for the early stages of labour, because it encourages contractions to become regular and stronger.
Some women find it relieves the pain to move around or to lean against their companion. Although gravity does help the process, standing up to give birth can be extremely tiring.