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5 Effective Labor Positions… That Aren't On Your Back

When many of us think labor and birth, we get the images from tv of a woman on her back with her legs up in stirrups doing controlled pushing and breathing. It’s what most of our society models, what many hospitals encourage and all that can lead to an increase in medical interventions. Why? The on your back position (knows as the Lithotomy position) is not really that effective in helping labor and birth along. It stalls things, the pelvis does not open as much and the controlled pushing takes away our own body’s signals for when it’s time (contractions actually push the baby).

Even if you will be having a medical, hospital birth — you don’t always have to be on your back during labor — you should be encouraged not to for the sake of yourself, your experience and your baby. There are more effective ways to facilitate the birth of your baby than being on your back and it can have a huge impact on your overall birth.

Click through to read 5 more effective ways to labor and birth than on your back:

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  • Birthing Stool 1 of 5
    Birthing Stool
    The use of gravity and sitting will help open your pelvis, helping labor be quicker and smoother. Also, in this position your legs are supported and you're used to pushing in this position (when you're on the toilet).
    Source: Effect of the Birth Chair on Duration of Second Stage Labor
    Photo credit: faveravephotography on Flickr
  • Hands and Knees 2 of 5
    Hands and Knees
    My personal favorite position, this one is especially effective if you're experiencing any back pain. Once again, gravity is helping move things along quicker and encourages movement from the baby. If you're getting achy in this position, consider draping yourself over a birthing ball for extra comfort. I instinctively went into this position during labor and I believe listening to your body is the best way to go.
    Photo credit: madaise on Flickr. Censor added
  • Supported Standing 3 of 5
    Supported Standing
    Using gravity and support from a birth partner, this position will help move things along. Being upright and moving will speed things along. You can rest during the contractions and pushing while upright will help your own instincts take over.
    Source: American Pregnancy.org
    Photo credit: madaise on Flickr
  • Squatting 4 of 5
    Squatting
    Similar to both the birthing stool and the hands and knees position, the squatting position helps open your pelvis allowing for an easier delivery. Being on your own (without the seat) can facilitate some swaying or movement from you which will also speed labor comfortably.
    Source: Alternative Birth Positions
    Photo credit: alisonjohnson53 on Flickr
  • Side, Curled Position 5 of 5
    Side, Curled Position
    Especially useful if it's been a long labor, this will give you extra support from the fatigue, but will also be more effective than being on your back. Laying almost in the fetal position yourself, it's thought to be the most effective to reduce tearing.
    Source: Alternative Birth Positions
    Photo credit: madaise on Flickr

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