Movement and positioning in labor work magic. Movement enhances comfort by stimulating the receptors in the brain that decrease pain perception. The result is that you are able to tolerate increasingly strong contractions. When contractions become very strong, endorphins are released and pain perception decreases even more. Ultimately, your movement in response to your contractions decreases pain and facilitates labor – a win-win. Movement also helps the baby move through the pelvis, and some positions enlarge pelvic diameters.
The positions shown here facilitate the normal, natural process of labor. What position should you use? Follow your body. Move freely in response to what you feel. Your body will let you know just what position is best at every point in your labor.
1. STANDING SUPPORTED SQUAT
Realigns your pelvis to increase the opening by up to 15 percent.
Allows you to be supported by your standing or sitting partner, the wall or a squat bar.
Takes advantage of gravity.
Makes contractions feel less painful and more productive.
Lengthens your trunk and helps your baby line up with the angle of your pelvis.
Movement causes changes in your pelvic joints, helping your baby through the birth canal.
May increase your urge to push in the second stage of labor.
Requires a strong partner.
May be tiring for both of you.
Good use of gravity.
Good resting position.
Works well in hospital beds.
Good visibility at birth for your support team.
Easy access to fetal heart tones for your health-care provider.
Access to your perineum can be poor.
Mobility of your coccyx is impaired.
Puts some stress on your perineum but less than when lying on your back.
Good for resting.
Can be used with continuous electronic fetal monitoring.
May not be possible if you have high blood pressure.