When you think of a woman giving birth, you imagine her lying on her back and pushing her baby out with great difficulty. Out of all the positions you can think of, giving birth standing up, walking, or squatting is not what usually comes to your mind. Humans have tried many different positions, and lying down is a relatively new position. Throughout history, you can see depictions of women giving birth upright – holding on to other people as support, using a pile of bricks as a birthing stool, or holding on to ropes hung from trees. As the process of giving birth moved from homes to hospitals, lying down became the norm. It was easier for obstetricians to perform medical procedures and deliver babies, but it became more difficult for mothers to give birth. Though it may sound unnatural to many, giving birth upright is completely normal. Here are some of the ways in which it is beneficial.
When you try to give birth lying down, you are actually working against the force of gravity. You have to push the entire weight of your baby by yourself. When you are in an upright position, you work along with gravity in helping your baby move toward the birth canal for delivery. You end up applying much lesser force and birthing becomes easier.
The diameter of the pelvic outlet decreases when you lie down and increases when you are upright. By pushing your baby out in an upright position, you cause the ligaments and the joints of your pelvic region to stretch out and widen. If your baby is big, then this position is recommended.
When you lie down, your uterus contracts against the force of gravity. It slows down contractions, making it more difficult for you to give birth. In an upright position, your contractions become stronger and more powerful as gravity assists the process, instead of challenging it.
You have more freedom to move around when you give birth in an upright position. You can easily toggle the weight of your body between your legs, walk slowly, or bounce on a Pilates ball. This greatly reduces the pain of labor. You will not experience extreme back pain which is caused by lying on your back for an extended period of time.
Your body is designed to work with gravity to give birth. Being upright will greatly shorten the duration of labor because you don’t have to push as hard as you would have to when lying down. You can even have someone massage your back to make labor more comfortable.
When you lie down, important blood vessels such as the vena cava vein and aorta are compressed by your uterus, reducing the flow of oxygen to your baby. In an upright position, you not only ensure a better supply of oxygen to your little one, but also your pelvic muscles, resulting in more efficient contractions.
It is quite evident that in an upright position, you apply less force while giving birth. Due to this reason, you do not feel as tired as you would when giving birth lying down. The strain on your entire body is reduced and you recover more efficiently.
Giving birth lying down requires a lot of energy. In some cases, the mother’s effort is not enough to push the baby out. Doctors might have to use forceps, vacuum pumps, or episiotomies to help deliver the baby. Being upright makes it easier for the mother to give birth, reducing the chances of foreign interventions.
Lesser pain, shorter labor, and lesser effort on your part makes giving birth upright a satisfying experience overall. You will be less exhausted and will feel more in control of your body when giving birth.
There are many upright positions that will make birthing easier, such as standing, kneeling on your hands and knees, sitting, squatting, and lying sideways. Before you go into labor, practice relaxation techniques and visualize yourself giving birth in different positions. You will have a better idea of which positions you will be comfortable with. Giving birth takes a lot of strength and endurance. Make sure to reserve as much energy as possible for the final stage – pushing your little one out into this beautiful world.
Info by Curejoy