Natural Labor Positions

If you’re opting for a natural birth, then you’ll probably want to learn more about some of the different birthing positions you can use to speed up and facilitate your labor. Choosing the right positions at the right time can have a huge impact on your delivery progress as well as your level of comfort during contractions. The two most common birthing positions used in hospitals are the C-position, where mothers are made to rest on their tailbone and curl their bodies into a C shape, and the lithotomy position, where women are made to lie flat on their back. The reason doctors have expectant mothers assume these positions is merely because they are more convenient for the doctors themselves, not the mothers or their babies. Below are more beneficial positions that you can employ, and even though they might not be glamorous, they are certainly more conducive to your overall comfort.

Hands-and-Knees Positions: 


Great for turning a posterior baby, giving birth to a large baby, and dealing with back labor, hands-and-knees positions can contribute to reducing a mother’s backache and discomfort, and preventing the development of further complications. Such positions include the “crawl” and “full moon” positions. To assume the “crawl” position, simply get down on all fours as if you’re preparing to crawl; in addition to expanding the pelvis to give a large baby more room to maneuver into a correct birth position, this position is ideal when there is an umbilical cord prolapse issue. The “full moon” position, on the other hand, is a variation of the “crawl” position, wherein the mother must rest her shoulders and forearms on a level surface, such as the floor or a low stool, that is lower than her behind. It would also help to have the mother widen her knees as far as comfortable to open the pelvis further.

Squatting Positions: 

Squatting helps open the pelvis and allows gravity to do its part in enabling the baby to arrange itself into a better position for birth. Squatting can shorten the pushing phase involved in labor and reduce your need to push. It is not, however, recommended for the early stages of labor, and you don’t need to maintain this position throughout the pushing phase, as it should only be used when the contractions begin or when you feel the urge to squat. To squat properly, bend your knees and bring your rear close to the floor while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Since you might find it difficult to maintain your balance, have your birth partner or nurse help you.

Side-Lying Positions: 

Commonly used during long labor, side-lying positions are usually reserved for the later stages of labor when the use of gravity won’t help speed along the birthing process. To get into a side-lying position, the mother merely needs to rest on one side and slightly curl her body into a semi-fetal position. This position helps the mother relax and promotes overall physical comfort. It also removes the pressure from the uterus, kidneys and other organs that can compress the umbilical cord, which makes this position also beneficial for the baby. Lying on the left side is particularly useful when the baby’s heart rate decreases during contractions.