Labor Positions to Ease Pain (with Photos)

Try these positions to ease your pain and discomfort during contractions.

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Soothing Labor Positions

The standard hospital labor position—semi- or fully reclining—is not ideal. When you're lying on your back, your uterus compresses major blood vessels, potentially depriving the baby of oxygen and making you dizzy or queasy. In addition, when you're reclining, the baby's head puts pressure on pelvic nerves in your sacrum, increasing pain during contractions.

Remaining upright and leaning forward reduces this pressure while allowing your baby's head to constantly bear down on your cervix. The result? Dilation tends to occur more quickly. Here are six labor positions to try (those marked with an asterisk(*) can be used if you receive an epidural, though you may need support).

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Swaying (aka Slow Dancing)

Swaying: Wrap your arms around your partner's neck or waist and sway as if you are slow dancing. This is a great position to receive a back rub.

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Lunging

Lunging: Raise one foot onto a chair or footstool and lean forward.

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Squatting

Squatting: Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair and squat. You can also squat against a wall or between your partner's legs while he or she sits in a stable chair.

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Rocking*

Rocking*: Gently rock while sitting on a chair, the edge of the bed or a birthing ball.

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Hands and Knees*

Hands and Knees*: Get on all fours on the bed, a yoga mat or on the floor.

Standing and Leaning (not shown):
Lean forward on a birthing ball, bed or partner.

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