You’ve planned the nursery, written a birth plan, and you’re pretty sure you’re ready to tackle the task of giving birth. Now imagine yourself pushing out your baby: where and how is your body situated? If you’re like most people, you’ve come to associate birth with the traditional scene of lying on your back with your legs in stirrups. This is great if that’s where you’re comfortable or you’re having a high-risk pregnancy and delivery, but you just might want to have a few other options in your toolkit.
If you’re weirded out by the thought of getting into some strange contortions or hanging from the light fixtures when swollen and contracting, these easy, comfortable, and totally normal hospital birthing positions are for you!
1) Sitting Upright
Delivering in an upright sitting position is perfect for you if you want to hang out in the bed and receive coaching and encouragement from your support team, yet not really be lying on your back. Your team can move the head of your bed all the way up like the back of a chair, and you can sit up as if in a throne. You can pull your legs up toward your torso to push for more control. Bonus? Your partner can even sit on the bed behind you to brace you and put their arms around you. Many hospitals also offer squat bars that you can request to aid in semi-squatting on the bed!
Epidural Friendly? Yes
2.) Hands and Knees
This one requires a little more effort from you, but if you’re feeling pretty good and can move around a little, birthing on your hands and knees is a great way to get gravity on your side and help relieve pain and pressure in your back and pelvis. You can do this almost anywhere: on the bed, on a birth ball, leaning over a chair or couch, or the floor (on a clean sheet and pad, of course!).
Epidural Friendly? Not usually
Side-lying is another bed lying position that lets you change it up and move around for comfort. Lying on your side just enough to avoid squishing your belly, and bringing your leg up, is a very comfortable labor and delivery position for most people. You can even switch sides every 20-30 minutes to encourage baby’s descent as your pelvis moves. During pushing, your partner or doula can support your top leg so the doctor or midwife can see what’s going on and help catch the baby safely.
Epidural Friendly? Yes
These positions are some great options to keep in the back of your mind if you want to give birth in or near the hospital bed, but without lying down or doing anything too funky. They all allow your care team to monitor you and the baby or administer any necessary interventions, while giving you the freedom to move around and get comfortable as you desire.
Our doulas at Annapolis Area Doulas are experts in labor positioning and can help you navigate when to use each one, and how to do them! Contact us now to make us a part of your labor support team.