position changes, position changes in labor, birth positions

The Benefit of Position Changes in Labor

Position changes are extremely important during all stages of labor.

Position changes help to make the mother more comfortable and may even help to speed labor up. Asking someone who is in pain to lie still in a bed is just silly. A laboring mother that is able to move freely and change positions will naturally find positions or movements that feel right to her and help her cope.

There are so many different positions to try:

  • standing,
  • walking,
  • sitting,
  • reclined,
  • squatting,
  • kneeling,
  • lying on her side,
  • on hands and knees, or
  • leaning on a partner, the bed, the wall, or the birth ball.

Using a rebozo, or even bed sheet, to assist with different positions is another way to achieve position changes, especially positions that take pressure off of bones and ligaments which helps with a feeling of weightlessness.

A position change every half hour or so may help a mother who is restless, discouraged, in a lot of pain, or who’s labor has slowed.

Standing helps to take advantage of gravity, makes contractions shorter, helps position the baby to enter the pelvis, speeds labor, and increases the urge to push.

Leaning forward positions assist with relieving backache, allowing partners to give a back-rub, is more restful than standing upright, and can be used with electronic fetal monitoring.

Sitting on a toilet helps relax the perineum for effective bearing down.

Hands and knees position helps to relieve backache, assists the rotation of a baby in OP position, allows for pelvic rocking, and takes pressure off of hemorrhoids.

Squatting helps to relieve backache, uses gravity to help baby descend, may aid in the baby’s rotation, widens the pelvic outlet, allows the upper trunk to press on the uterus, may help bring on the urge to push, requires less bearing down effort, and allows the freedom to shift weight for comfort.

There are lots of positional change options during labor and it is encouraged to try several to find what feels best for you.