These positions are all helpful for labor.  Ask your Doula or other member of your labor support team to help!

Effective Labor Positions –

Abdominal Lift

  • Best for mom’s with lax abdominal tone
  • Takes pressure off back
  • Improves position of the baby in the pelvis

Straddling Chair

  • Good resting posture
  • Access to back for counterpressure
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Straddling may help open pelvis

Standing, Leaning on Bed

  • Gravity Advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • Relieves back pain
  • May help with rotation

Cat/Dog

  • Encourages rotation of OP
  • May help with back pain

Kneeling at Bedside

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • Helps relieve back pain
  • Easier on joints than kneeling alone
  • May help with rotation

 

Lateral Knee Press

  • Helps relieve back pain for mom confined to bed (i.e. epidural)
  • Provides some pelvic mobility
  • May encourage fetal rotation

Sitting, Leaning on Tray Table

  • Good resting posture
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access to back

Standing, Leg on Chair

  • Gravity advantage
  • Widens one side of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation of OP

Hands and Knees

  • Helps relieve backaches
  • May encourage rotation of the baby
  • Allows pelvic rocking/movements
  • Open access for back massage

 

Standing, Leaning on Bed Tray

  • Gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • More restful than standing alone

Effective Labor Positions

Kneeling With Ball

  • Easier on joints than hands and knees alone
  • Helps relieve backache
  • May encourage rotation of the baby
  • Open access for counterpressure
  • Encourages mom to move/rock

Standing, Leaning w/Support

  • Gravity advantage
  • Encourages emotional closeness
  • Contractions more productive
  • Good alignment of baby

 

Kneeling on Bed w/Support

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • Helps relieve back pain
  • Easier on joints than kneeling alone
  • May help with rotation
  • Encourages emotional closeness

 

knee press for labor support

Knee Press

  • Releases tension and pain in lower back
  • Some gravity advantage

 

Standing, Leaning on Ball

  • Gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • More restful than standing alone
  • Encourages movement (swaying, etc.)

 

Semi-Sitting w/Partner

  • Good resting position
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Encourages emotional closeness

 

Sitting in Rocking Chair

  • Good resting position
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Rocking may help pelvic mobility

 

Swaying on Ball

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Swaying may help pelvic mobility
  • More comfortable than sitting on a chair

 

Labor Dance

  • Gravity advantage
  • Swaying movement may help pelvic mobility
  • Encourages emotional closeness
  • Open access for back massage

 

Tub/Jacuzzi

  • Relaxing
  • May reduce intensity of pain
  • Avoid in early labor (may cause contractions to decrease/become irregular)

 

Squatting W/Partner

  • May relieve back pain
  • Good gravity advantage
  • Widens pelvic outlet
  • Enhances to maintain than unsupported squatting and involves partner

 

Squatting at Bedside

  • May relieve back pain
  • Good gravity advantage
  • Widens pelvic outlet
  • Enhances rotation and descent
  • Easier to maintain than unsupported squatting and involves partner

 

Asymmetrical Standing

  • Gravity advantage
  • Widens one side of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation of OP
  • Encourages emotional closeness

 

Asymmetrical Kneeling

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Widens one side of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation of OP

 

Squatting With Bar

  • May relieve back pain
  • Good gravity advantage
  • Widens pelvic outlet
  • Enhances rotation and descent
  • Easier to maintain than unsupported squatting

Sitting With Countepressure

  • Good resting posture
  • Open access to back
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Straddling may help open pelvis

 

Kneeling Over Back of Bed

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • Helps relieve back pain
  • Easier on joins than kneeing alone
  • May help with rotation

 

Walking

  • Gravity advantage
  • Contractions generally more productive
  • Baby well aligned w/angle of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation and descent

 

Sitting in Shower

  • Good resting posture
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access to back
  • Relaxing

Helpful Tools

  • May soothe intensity of pain
  • May help regulate mom’s temp
  • May aid in relaxation

Climbing Stairs

  • Gravity advantage
  • Enhances rotation & pelvic mobility
  • May speed labor more than walking

 

Kneeling Lunge

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Widens one side of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation of OP
  • Easier than standing lunge

 

Asymmetrical Sitting

  • Some gravity advantage
  • Widens one side of pelvis
  • Encourages rotation of OP
  • Easier than standing or kneeling

 

Lap Squatting

  • May relieve back pain
  • Good gravity advantage
  • Widens pelvic outlet
  • Enhances rotation and descent
  • Easier to maintain than unsupported squatting and involves partner

 

The Dangle

  • May relieve back pain
  • Good gravity advantage
  • Widens pelvic outlet
  • Enhances rotation and descent
  • Easier to maintain than unsupported squatting, easier for partner
  • Helps “elongate” trunk

 

Standing w/Counterpressure

  • Good gravity advantage
  • Open access for counterpressure
  • Mom has freedom to sway, move or rest

 

Sitting Backward on Toilet

  • Resting posture
  • Some gravity advantage
  • Open access for back massage
  • May help to relax the perineum

 

Squatting Stool

  • Gravity advantage
  • Requires less bearing down
  • Upper trunk provides fundal pressure
  • Feet on floor provides grounding

 

Double Hip Squeeze

  • Releases pressure in sacrum
  • May encourage rotation of the baby

 

Upright Pushing

  • Gravity advantage
  • Requires less bearing down
  • Upper trunk provides fundal pressure
  • Easier than squatting stool
  • Easier on care provider

Emotional Supports

  • Ask her what she’s thinking during contractions
  • Ask her if she’s worried about anything
  • Remind her of the baby!  (pain with purpose)
  • Remind her the pain will end

General Tips

  • Music can be soothing or uplifting
  • Encourage snuggling/loving gestures with partner
  • Reflect normalcy
  • Stroking the hair/head is calming
  • Hand on the forehead is centering
  • Firm pressure to upper thighs may help calm tremors
  • During pushing, help her keep eyes open
  • Ask her if she wants to use a mirror
  • Be patient
  • Take care of your own bodily needs
  • Use positive words (i.e., contractions are “powerful” vs “bad”)
  • Offer a drink/ice after each contraction
  • Offer a cool clot for her face/forehead often
  • Remind her to empty her bladder
  • Teeth brushing or mouthwash can berefreshing
  • Buy time – take time with all rituals, activities
  • Keep lips moist
  • Remember touching and eye contact can sometimes say more than words
  • No fingertips-touch with flat, firm hands

 

Emotional Supports

  • Tell her not to fight it
  • Tell her she is OK
  • Acknowledge how hard it is
  • Encourage her not to be afraid
  • Encourage her to take one contraction at a time
  • Tell her she is strong; she can do this
  • Tell her she IS doing this
  • Tell her what a good mother she is being

For more help with birth choices and services, go here!