What’s the best position to give birth in?…
The answer is whatever position works for you!
Women have always used movement, gravity and different positions during labor and delivery. During the 1700s, doctors made lying on a birth table popular (so that the doctor had a better view and more control over a delivery using forceps). But we now know that lying on your back actually collapses the diameter of your pelvic bones by up to an inch, and works against gravity to make delivery more difficult!
There is also a greater chance of perineal tearing when mom is on her back. One study found:
Of the 1,679 women (44.5%) who required perineal suturing, semi-recumbent position was associated with the need for perineal sutures, whereas all-fours was associated with reduced need for sutures; these associations were more marked in first vaginal births and newborn birth weight over 3,500 g. When regional anesthesia was used, semi-recumbent position was associated with a need for suturing, and lateral position associated with a reduced need for suturing.
Dr Bootstaylor offers the following thoughts:
When I speak with Moms, I encourage freedom of movement which is our natural response to discomfort & pain. And not to sit/lie still in some catatonic state. If one stumps their toe, you don’t stand still, you move around (vigorously, no less:). With labor and birth, the force of gravity and comfort of movement works together in alignment.
What’s important is that you are free to (and encouraged to) move around during labor and delivery, and able to find the birth position that works for you. If what works for you is lying on your back, than go for it!
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