Updated: Jun 5
If you follow our page, you probably already know that lying on your back for birth is not what best supports your body's physiology. You probably already know that this position, called the lithotomy position originates from a surgical position, and is only popular in births because a high-status man demanded his wife abandon the traditional birth stool, lie on her back so he could watch the birth instead, and the physician obliged - creating a trend that serves men's satisfaction over the health of women.
If you follow our page, you probably already know that it's nonsense to be told not to lie on your back for prolonged periods of time during pregnancy, especially in the later months due to it's interference with blood flow - then be told to stay in that position for the duration of your birth.
If you follow our page, you also probably already know that the hormone relaxin loosens your joints during pregnancy, allowing more space for your babe to make a home inside your body, and that your pelvis expands up to an additional 30% during birth (so prenatal pelvic measurements are basically pointless). You probably already know that being in any position other than lying on your back allows this expansion to happen, because lying on your back compresses the sacrum, which needs to move outward as your baby descends and rotates.
But even if you know all of this, do you know the BEST position for giving birth?
Many birth education and advocacy pages share valuable information about your options for birth positioning and movement, from partner/doula-supported upright positions to birth ball variations, to curb walking. All of these can be great, but the greatest value comes from escaping your headspace about how to position your body for a good birth.
When left to determine their own positiond during birth, women feel called to a variety of arrangements throughout the process. If left undisturbed, or at least having the freedom to move intuitively without contraint, you too will likely find yourself dancing through many positions as you receive bursts of energy and succumb to your needs for rest.
Upright positions (standing, swaying, walking, kneeling, supported hang; sitting on a ball, birth stool, toilet, or bed) favor a woman who craves downward energy or is in a space where she's encouraging her baby's descent deeper into the pelvic outlet, or who simply just happens to be standing when her baby emerges!
Horizontal-ish positions (side lying with or without upper leg support, hands-and-knees, supported lunge, supported squat or any variation in between) may be favored by a woman who is grounding, resting her legs, encouraging a bit of slowness in her baby's emergence, or who simply finds herself in this type of position as her baby emerges.
Still, other women, when left to their primal process, may find a position that encompasses a bit of everything: leaning forward or leaning backward, knees turned inward or outward, one knee up as the other leg hangs off the bed. . . wherever her body puts itself. This is the key: open your mind to the possibilities, then let your body lead you to where it needs to be.
The only important thing to know about these positions is that they are all compatible with a baby's actual emergence, meaning they are all good options for labor and for your "actual birth".
Change positions however and whenever you feel the call. You do not need to abandon your intuitive movement just because it's more convenient or satisfactory for somebody else.
The Bottom Line:
The BEST position for you to birth in can only be determined by what feels right for you, in each moment, as you are giving birth.
May You Always Feel Your Strength,
You May Also Like:
BirthTime Preparation | Get Ready for Birth & Postpartum
Birth Story Integration | Work With Your Birth Story
30 Minute Consultations | What's On Your Heart?
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