Birth positions! believe it or not, birth positions aren’t something I like to focus on too much on our courses. Why? Because the position you give birth in can’t be predecided. There are positions where the incidence of tearing may be lower, there are positions that might help a back to back baby rotate, there are positions that might make monitoring your baby’s heartbeat easier.. but the RIGHT positions are the ones your body ASKS you to adopt in labour.
Instead of focusing on the ‘best’ positions to give birth in, you’re better of focusing on building trust in yourself, in your body, in your baby and tuning into your instinct.
That being said, there’s some important physiology that’s worth understanding before labour comes, which can help you realise why laying on your back a la ‘every movie ever’ is NOT a helpful position to give birth in (unless you’re there because YOUR body asked you to be!)
Your birth canal has a corner! If you are standing upright, the journey your baby has to take in labour is a little like a death drop slide! Straight down and then diagonally forwards.. a pretty easy route! If you’re on all fours, laying on your side, squatting, seated.. this route remains fairly easy for your baby! The minute you lay flat on your back, you create an uphill journey for your baby! So the question to ask yourself is- would you rather push a baby up a hill or down a hill?
UFO! Upright, Forward, Open. There’s 28% more space in your pelvis when you’re in an upright and forward leaning position position, than when you are laying on your back. You’ll likely find that your body replicates this in labour be that by standing, being on all fours, sitting on a ball or even side lying with your knees bent a little.
Humans have tails! Ok not quite like a dog and they don’t wag if we are happy, but they DO move! Our coccyx bone usually tucks right into the pelvis, as your baby’s head descends it pushes the coccyx out of the way. If there is something blocking this move (like a bed if you’re lying on your back) it slows baby’s descent and makes life much harder for you both!
When it comes to labour itself, have this info at the back of your mind, but ultimately, adopt the positions that are comfortable, move when you need to and tune into your instinct!
If you have an epidural in, that doesn’t mean you have to be flat on your back either! My top tips for giving birth with an epidural in- here!