The best positions for birth are usually the positions that are the most comfortable for the woman at the time. These are usually also the positions that will assist the baby into a good position to be born. The positions you use will have an effect on your sense of control and how you experience your labour. Generally, women who are able to move around as they need to, will experience labour more positively and as less painful, than women who are confined to the bed.
Women usually need to move through labour, and from a physiological perspective, this makes sense as the baby needs to make several movements through the mother's pelvis to be born. So in this way, the mother's movements through labour and birth assist the baby to descend though the pelvis and be born.
There are many positions that women will naturally adopt in labour, such as:
- Leaning over a bench or couch
- All fours positions
- Kneeling positions
- Lying on your side
Because gravity helps the baby’s head to descend deeply into the pelvis, upright positions are generally better for aiding progress in labour while also reducing pain. This is because upright positions work with the body in labour, rather than against it.
Many women choose to birth in the water because the sensation of being in water combined with the lack of gravity makes them feel more mobile and able to position in the best way possible to help the baby move through the pelvis.
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.