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Labor Positions: Designing Your Delivery

There are stigmas around what positions you have to be in for labor, and the idea that you can’t move around once you’ve started active labor. These ideas aren’t true, and have been debunked. What is true, is that some positions are better than others for moving your baby down the birth canal. 

Contractions usually start early on in labor and are sporadic. You may want to bounce on a ball, go for a long walk, or just relax through them in bed. Women want to find positions that help ease the contractions and move labor along. We encourage you to be vocal about your wants and needs! 

Prepping for labor is also important. Beginning your third trimester, try our Labor Prep Tea to help support your body’s preparation for labor and post-delivery recovery.

What movements should I try to help with delivery?

  • Rocking
  • Walking or Standing
  • Squatting 
  • All Fours
  • Kneeling/Leaning over
  • Sitting
  • Side Lying

These positions are effective because they help open up your pelvis and relieve pressure.You can try to incorporate a pillow or a ball (birthing or peanut) for extra assistance. To ease any tension, have your partner massage your neck or shoulders. Being able to feel peace through the pain is essential! And after all, you deserve it.

What position will be the best for me?

The truth is, no position is guaranteed to work better than another because every woman is unique. Staying open minded is key here. Allow your body to move the way it needs to on the day of delivery. Here are some tips: 

  • Positions if you suffer back pain: Try going on all fours or kneeling on pillows for back relief.
  • Positions with an epidural: Try laying on your side using a peanut ball or even sitting. Some hospitals will have a pull-up bar you can utilize to help you pull up while pushing down. You will be very numb, so this limits you from doing some of the other movements.
  • Positions when being monitored: Take it easy, and try to rock, squat, sit, or side-lie during contractions. These light movements will help your heart rate stay in a safer limit while progressing.
  • Positions during actual delivery: You may have recommendations from your doctor on your position, but ultimately it is up to you and how you feel! 

What are the risks of certain positions?

If you lay on your back the entire time, you will possibly be restricting main blood vessels and overall blood flow. The best way to lay in bed is on your side or doing a semi-sit, this is where you sit at a 45-degree angle with pillows used for support.

Listen to your care provider if they tell you that a certain position is negatively affecting your baby’s heart rate. They may ask you to make gradual changes in your position to get the heart rate back to a steady rate. 

Are there positions that make delivery easier?

Essentially, your body will be able to feel out what positions are best for you. Studies have shown that being in an upright position, such as walking or squatting, shortens the duration of labor and lessens the chances of a C-section. We recommend studying a few positions, observing the atmosphere you’ll be in, and asking the hospital if they provide a birthing or peanut ball. It’s an important day and your comfort is key, so study up on your options! 


You’ve got this.