Birthowl’s natural childbirth


Upright positions useful for labor and birth

The laboring woman can make the most of these positions by combining them with movement, chanting, natural breathing, visualization and massage. However, she should be able to rest whenever she feels like it, particularly in early labor. Encourage her to follow her inner urges. Her instinct and intuition will guide her when she allows her body’s wisdom to take over.

Standing and Walking – Stimulates contractions. The downward force of gravity assists the baby’s head to descend which in turn helps to dilate the cervix. Will also help to increase the efficiency of contractions and lessens discomfort, particularly when she leans forward with each contraction.

Helpful in early labor when the baby is in a good position – sometimes used for most of the labor.

Sitting upright and leaning forward on a firm chair, stool or toilet seat. Can be very comfortable. Her body is well supported while upright; good downward force. A nice position for being massaged because the back is so accessible.

To relax and to be in control with minimum effort.

Kneeling – An instinctive position particular in active labor when contractions are strong. Gives a sense of being literally on top of the contractions. A way of increasing privacy and concentration. Helps to feel centered. Easy to relax forward over a pile of cushions, a beanbag or a chair; makes it easy to change into different positions like standing, half kneeling – half squatting, squatting and all fours.

Helpful when labor starts in the night or when the woman is tired, needs privacy or seeks comfort.

Induces a feeling of control and release. Can be helpful for internals.

Particularly useful for active labor or for helping a posterior baby rotate.

All fours – lessens the force of gravity, thus reducing the speed of descent while providing the baby with enough space to move on; lessens the intensity of the contractions; allows for a wide range of movement, facilitates the ability to produce low noises and helps to feel centered; helpful in rotating a posterior baby.

Induces a feeling of control, makes breathing easy and gives privacy. Good when suffering from vulval or varicose veins.

Knee – Chest – Takes pressure off the back. Slows down a violent or extremely fast birth, thus helps to cope. Helps to create a time-out when needed. Extremely valuable in helping a baby to turn to a better birth position and to heal a swelling on the cervix (4).

Least pressure. Good for focusing and privacy or to take some time out. Can relieve pressure on the baby. Best position for an anterior lip to go down.

Lying on Side – If labour is progressing well she may choose this position for comfort and a slow, gentle birth. Good resting position for a long birth. Take care that she rolls fully to the left side into the recovery position with cushions to prop up her head, right leg and under her right arm; use a small cushion as a wedge under her left hip.

Make her comfortable with big cushions in her back, to rest her arm on. Keeping her left leg long while the right leg is bent and flops right over to the left as in the recovery position, put a small wedge under her left hip.

Picture by Bolinhanic – “Theresa in Labor”

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