Keep it moving -- why changing positions often can help you have an easier labor
March 11, 2014
Many women find their own rhythm during labor and do what comes naturally to keep themselves comfortable. In addition to finding your own rhythm and rituals, there are a number of positions that can keep you comfortable and help labor progress. A good doula can prepare you and your partner to leverage lots of positions to help you manage pain and discomfort in labor. If you plan on getting an epidural, talk to your doctor/midwife and doula about how limited your mobility will be so that you can plan accordingly.
One of the easiest things you can do is to stay moving. It’s counterintuitive to some, especially if this is your first baby. And on TV you often see the woman lying flat in bed (pretty much the worst position for labor). But there are a number of reasons why position changes and staying more or less upright during labor is a good idea:
Gravity can help baby move down and engage in the pelvis.
Changing positions will promote healthy circulation and deliver more oxygen to your baby.
The more you change positions (try for once every hour), the more likely your baby will be in an effective position for birth. (Meaning: less pain and shorter labor.)
If you avoid hanging out in the same position for a large chunk of time during labor, you also help ensure that your cervix will dilate effectively (you’ll avoid cervical lips).
The best part? Your contractions may be more effective and less painful than if you were lying down.
Try practicing different positions with your partner and doula during your pregnancy. Once you’re in labor, you may find that some positions work better than others. But if you are prepared with different positions you can leverage to help you manage the pain and discomfort, you will most likely have a more satisfying birth experience.
Which positions have you tried? And if you’ve already given birth, which ones worked?