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Worst Position to Give Birth? On Your Back!

When it comes to giving birth in The United States… there is something we are still doing wrong.

You walk into the hospital, and the first thing they want you to do is get in bed, on your back, something they have told you not to do your entire pregnancy, and hook you up to monitors to make sure everything is ok.

But the problem is… women shouldn’t be birthing on their backs!

I came across an article shared on facebook the other day that really made me think about it again. The article was called 7 Basic Things You Won’t Believe You’re All Doing Wrong and it features everything from brushing your teeth to… giving birth on your back!

The article states:

In fact, short of actually duct-taping your legs together, this is pretty much the worst position imaginable to give birth in. And that’s not the opinion of a bunch of hippies who think that childbirth should involve dolphins and mood lighting: The World Health Organization has called use of the lithotomy position “clearly harmful,” and recommended that it be eliminated.

Something I never knew until seeing the birth documentary film The Business of Being Born and hearing world famous OB/GYN Michael Odent discuss why the lithotomy position because so popular, and it had nothing to do with what was best for mothers and their babies, but what was easiest for the Doctor, and nurses to handle, and their comfort measures.

Small piece of common sense when it comes to birth, and gravity.  You stand a person up, or get them into an upright position, blood is going to flow the way it should, but it is also going to allow gravity to help assist in delivery.  Put someone flat on their back, you are now decreasing the size of their pelvis by nearly 20%, but you are also constricting blood flow which could lead to fetal distress, as well as taking away the power of gravity.  Like it or not, but standing up will help to bring that baby down more, laying on your back will not.

What are some other problems with the lithotomy position?  Well for one, it increases the risk of vaginal tearing, and increases the risk of a mother having an episiotomy, which can create damage to the vagina, and cause a tear to be worse than it originally may have been had the provider not started the cut.

What should women really be doing in the labor and delivery room?

But science can tell us that non-lying-down positions reduce tearing and that a squatting labor position usually opens up the pelvis by 10 percent. And as anyone who has ever got their head stuck in a drainpipe knows, a 10 percent increase in space can sometimes mean a lot. Basically, squatting should be given some sort of medal at this point.

Great resources from the original article.  Get off your back, move around, and get that baby moving down the way nature intended!

A great video that showcases this from Mothers Advocate:

photo:flickr.com/abbamouse

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