You can choose from several different positions during childbirth.
- Standing: You can lean on your partner, use a walker or lean on the birthing bed. To get the most out of a vertical position, try to lean forward with your legs wide apart and your knees bent.
- On all fours: If you have back issues, standing on all fours is a good alternative that relieves the pressure on your back. It also alleviates the pressure on your rectum when combined with swaying your hips.
- Squatting: Squatting is the position that best opens up the pelvis and prevents you from clenching. The closer to the floor your bottom is and the closer to your shoulder your knees are, the more room for your baby to descend toward your pelvic floor. Few women are accustomed to squatting for any longer period of time, so the birthing stool is a good alternative. If you use the birthing stool, a good rule of thumb is to avoid sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time. There is a risk of swelling if you sit longer.
- Half-sitting: Anatomically speaking, this is not the best position. Not only can you not take full advantage of gravity when you are in a resting seated position, the pressure on the perineum also increases. There’s also a risk that your uterus will press on your blood vessels, which can cause your blood pressure to drop and you may feel nauseous.
- Birthing ball: Many women find the birthing ball both comfortable to sit on and easy to move with. The pelvis and muscles relax more easily, which allows the pelvis to open and the baby to descend.
- Kneeling: Kneeling is the most common position at the end of active labor. You can raise the head of the birthing bed and lean over it. It’s particularly important that you don’t stay in this position for too long since it puts a lot of pressure on your knees.
- Side-lying: If you prefer a horizontal position, then side-lying is the best alternative. Oxygen supply to your baby is good, and many women feel that they are in control and can rest between contractions when in this position.
- Lithotomy position: Most women are familiar with this position since it is the most common position for a gynecological exam. In childbirth, it is usually used for certain exams during labor and if the baby needs help using a traction cup.
- Flat on your back: Lying flat on your back during childbirth is not advised. The supply of oxygen to your baby is compromised. It is common for the woman to feel nauseous and her blood pressure to drop. Gravity has no chance of helping out in this position.
Consider which positions you think would best benefit you during childbirth. It can be difficult to decide in advance exactly what you want to do, but it’s a good idea to give some thought to what might feel best. You can always change your mind, and you can be certain that the staff will help you to find different position during delivery.
Sources: - Abascal, G., & Huss, M. S. (2018). Att föda. Bonnier Fakta.