If you’re a bit of a history geek like me then the history and anthropology of childbirth is fascinating. Birth was always women work but then a few things happened which changed that – firstly Louis XVI wanted to see his baby being born and the best way was for Marie Antoinette to lay on her back. Secondly when the Queen of France began her confinement to await the birth of her baby it was noted that ‘gossips,’ or the ladies of the court had complete access to the Queen and as such were able to dictate policy without men being involved. So male doctors (because they could not be as ‘lowly,’ as a midwife began to enter the delivery room and , like the Louis XVI, it was easier for them to see what was going on when we lay on our backs to birth.
So why move in labour? Well very simply your pelvis has an inlet and an outlet and you need to keep those as open as possible. By moving and maintaining an upright position as much as possible you are not only giving your body more control over the process you are also creating space for your baby to descend, you are allowing gravity to do its thing and draw the baby down.
Here are some positions that are good to try in the any part of labour but particularly :-
- Sitting on the bed
- Standing and leaning into a birth partner, bed, table or wall. This allows gravity to do its thing and help the baby on its way.
- Rocking – whether you do this sitting or standing this encourages your pelvis to move and may help get the baby down.
- Leaning on a ball (standing or sitting)
- Birth ball
- Hands and knees – is a good way to cope with back labour as it allows you to do pelvic tilts and its also a good position to birth in as the pelvis is nice and open.
- Kneeling over a ball, or your husbands shoulders a great way to relieve the pressure of the babys head as it encourages them to move forward. It can help reduce labour pain for that reason.
Remember each sensation, each contraction, each wave brings your baby closer to you.
Remember the best labour position is the one that works best for you
Remember your life is not a film – you do not have to birth on back, and not all births are traumatic or dramatic!