When a woman asks me "What positions are best to deliver my baby in?" I think straight to how we would have delivered back in the 'cave man' days. Now admittedly, there have been many phenomenal medical advancements since then - allowing women to deliver their babies when they may not have been able to deliver unassisted. When considering and planning for your birth, it is always imperative to remember that you are there to deliver your baby safe and sound and at the end of the day you need to concede to intervention if required. It is important that you have an open discussion with your partner and your medical team regarding what interventions you are comfortable with and your preferences for intervention if they need to occur.
The Birthing 'Tool Belt'
So to maximise your chances of an 'unassisted' birth the best thing I could tell you - have a 'tool belt' for your delivery. In this 'tool belt' you can have things like:
- various supportive positions
- relaxing music
- pain relief
- bath etc etc.
This tool belt will give you strategies to get through your delivery more comfortably and with less chance for back pain, pelvic pain and potential perineal trauma. I'm not a massive fan of the strict and structured 'birth plan' as at the end of the day you can't 'plan' something that is completely primitive and natural. However, it is a wonderful idea to be as prepared as you can and have strategies to call on when the tough gets going!!! REMEMBER: you are there to DELIVER YOUR BABY safe and sound... so don't stress if your 'plan' gets a bit wonky along the way! You've got to let it go and trust the medical professionals and support staff around you.
Any gravity bearing positions are advantageous as they encourage the baby's head into the birth canal and there can be less chance for perineal trauma, tail bone injury, pubic joint pain and back pain in this position. This image gives you a good idea of the effect gravity has on the position of baby in relation to your vaginal opening.
Effective active birthing positions include:
- Squatting, supported squatting
- All fours
- Kneeling and leaning over ball, chair, partner
The right way and wrong way to squat
This article gives wonderful insight into the effectiveness of squatting and that some of us may be doing it all wrong! In an optimal birthing position you are wanting to maximise the opening of the pelvic outlet to effectively reduce obstruction as much as possible. This article describes how Western women typically squat with their heels turned in while Asian women tend to squat in a more symmetrical way thanks in part to their squat toilets! Learn how to maximise the opening of your pelvis by squatting the right way.