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Positions for birth: Why are they important?


Many of us believe that giving birth requires a mom to get on her back and show her privates to the attending Dr. or midwife. This holds true in many births, mostly because that is how medical personnel learn (on a mannequin) to watch over the delivery. But given the chance, very few women would naturally choose that position to give birth.

WHY? For most women, lying on the back is really uncomfortable and many only do it because they think it is a medical imperative. Don't get me wrong, it may well be the position of choice for the mom, either by expectation or by comfort.

Doctors may also find it easier to see and have access,

This IS the position in which they feel comfortable doing some very useful maneuvers that are, sometimes, needed at birth. However, the need for a good part of these maneuvers evaporates when a woman can follow her body's lead.

Mothers who give birth upright have full use of their leg movements and pelvic movements.

The pelvis and its 3 bones (Sacrum and 2 Iliac bones) is unencumbered and its full mobility is possible. The placenta and your ovaries prepare the pelvic joints by releasing a hormone called Relaxin so they are even more flexible and soft as birth approaches.

This also means that the pelvic and uterine ligaments and muscles are stretching and shifting creating asymmetry.

All this helps the baby travel down the birth canal in response to the space and hold, the asymmetrical movements create using Gravity as an ally. It does make a difference.

In addition to upright positions for birth any position liberating the pelvis is great. Remember that your body is made for this. The placenta and your ovaries prepare the pelvic joints by releasing a hormone called Relaxin so they are even more flexible and soft as birth approaches.

It prevents tears. Mothers that follow their “instinct” find positions that are more comfortable and supportive of both their vaginal and perineal tissue often avoiding tears

Another thing to consider is that some women who have experienced abuse may have to deal with the awakened memories brought by birth aggravated by the lying position of “submission” or having their genitals exposed.

So WHY favor UPRIGHT POSITIONS? They are practical, they help manage the pain and empower women to be active and in charge, favoring a good birth outcome and a positive experience.

Some of these positions:

- Forward kneeling

- Half kneeling

- Squat and supported squat

- Standing

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Elena Piantino
Doula Services

+41 79 478 5994

Nyon, Switzerland

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