Standing, squatting, sitting … Nicky Manson discovers there is more to the ‘delivery position’ than previously believed.
Sweat pouring down your brow. Mandatory hospital gown. Sympathetic looking husband on one side. Grabbing bed sheets on the other side. Screaming… and last, but not least, feet in the stirrups. Yes, we have all watched this scene a million times on TV shows and cinema, or seen it on adverts and in magazines. This is the archetypal position of a woman in labour.
The term ‘lithotomy’ actually refers to this traditional lying down method of labour (flat-on-back with legs pulled back to either side). Semi-sitting, also known as the C-position (resting on tailbone with body curled in the shape of a C) is the second most commonly used birthing position. However, research has demonstrated that birthing in these positions actually works against gravity.
The good news is that times are changing and today there are a number of positions to try when the time comes for your natural birth. During labour and just before the actual birth, movement and positioning are equally important. Movement stimulates the receptors in the brain, decreasing pain perception and increasing the release of endorphins. Movement also helps the baby move through the pelvis, and some positions are known to help enlarge pelvic diameters.