Pushing Positions For Birth

Pushing Positions For Birth


Ever been told that you should never push a baby out on your back? And then scratch your head because that kind of seems like that is how everyone does it? Ever wondered why this is the way it is? Or how you should push if you don’t want to do it like that?

Here’s the thing. What works for you may not work for someone else – and that’s okay. And you want to know a secret? I love pushing on my back. I choose to push, unmedicated, all 3 of my babies out that way.

BUT – there is some good research and information out there about all of the ways you can deliver a baby. Let’s talk about it – and then you store it away for your own birth story.

• Standing/Squatting: These usually occur with the support of a partner or a prop (like a bedside table/counter)
• Kneeling Upright/Hands + Knees: These can occur on the floor or supported by a prop (like a ball or an inclined head of a bed)
• Birth Seat: This can include something like a birth stool or a toilet.

Upright positions are believed to utilize gravity, help the uterus contract more efficiently, and have less risk of cord compression. They are also known to increase the pelvic outlet – yes please!

• Supine: This describes the flat on your back pushing, potentially with some elevation of head of bed.
• Lithotomy: Similar to supine, this also includes the the hip and knee flexion with legs supported/up.
• Lateral: Side lying pushing

So why do we continue to birth on our backs when research clearly shows that upright positions often have greater benefit?

  • Electronic fetal monitoring access
  • Increased use of epidurals
  • Ease for delivering provider
  • Staff ratios and extensive charting requirements

Of note:

  • Without an epidural, research does suggest that upright positions for delivery are more beneficial for women and babies.
  • With an epidural, the research is less conclusive. There are no clear benefits or risks between the upright and the non-upright positions.

How’d you deliver mama? Did they let you choose? And did you like one position better than another?

Instagram: @thelabormama

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