Labor Positions and Movements for Your Birth Plan

Part of the Birth Plans For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Staying active and in upright positions during childbirth can help labor progress. Including the option to keep moving during labor is a great addition to your birth plan, and having a list of common labor positions and movements can be helpful as a reminder to you and notification for your doctor, nurses, or midwife. Here are some labor positions and movements to include in your birth plans:

  • Walking: Walking around is a great way to keep labor moving along and distract you from discomfort.

  • Standing: Try leaning against someone (or something) or standing self-supported. You may stand during a contraction.

  • Squatting: When your baby is engaged in your pelvis, squatting can really intensify the contractions — too much to handle, for some.

  • Lunges: You can lunge standing up, by placing a sturdy chair in front and just to the side of you, putting the lunging leg up on the chair, or you can lunge while kneeling on the bed or on the floor. Be sure to be supported by your labor partner when lunging.

  • Climbing stairs: Walking up and down stairs combines the benefits of walking with the benefits of lunging. Be sure to have someone with you, and don’t overexert yourself.

  • Rocking: You can try rocking in a rocking chair, while sitting on a birth ball, or while sitting on the edge of the bed.

  • Slow dancing: A slow sway of the hips, especially when combined with a labor partner to lean on, can be comforting during labor.

  • Sitting upright: Sitting is a restful position that still gives you a gravity advantage by being upright.

  • Semi-upright sitting: This labor position is somewhere between lying down and sitting up. You get some gravity advantage in a restful pose, but remaining in this position too long may increase the chances of a posterior positioned baby.

  • Sitting on the toilet: Trying this position may help you instinctively let go of tension in the pelvic area.

  • Hands and knees: This labor position is good for labor felt mostly in your back. A chest-and-knees position can be especially good for when contractions are very intense.

  • Lying on your side: You may try this position when you really need to rest. Remember to turn from side to side frequently

  • Lying on your back: This position is rarely good for labor, because it can cause dizziness by limiting blood flow. It can also decrease blood flow to your baby. It may be used during medical examinations, though your practitioner should place a rolled blanket or other prop beneath your left hip.

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