When most people think of or picture a person giving birth, they see someone laying on their back in a hospital bed. This image is frequently shown in movies and television and many people in the United States actually do birth this way. Not only can this position be uncomfortable, but it can actually slow labor and increase medical interventions. Moving around and changing up positions throughout the labor process can help you find your rhythm, help speed up a slowed labor and even help ease pain and discomfort.
There are many movements that can be used during childbirth such as walking, swaying and dancing. Your partner and Doula can be great at suggesting different movements but one of the most important things is to listen to your body and instincts. Many birthing people will spontaneously find a movement and rhythm that works for them.
In early labor, walking can be an excellent use of movement. It uses gravity and actually causes slight changes in the pelvis joints that will encourage rotation and the decent of the baby. It can also help keep contractions shorter and more productive.
One of my favorite movements is when the birthing person sways while holding on to their partner/coach. Imagine a dark candlelit room with soft music playing and embracing a person you love, I am honored to be able to witness such a beautiful moment. Not only are you getting those same great benefits that walking provides but holding on to and embracing the person you love can bring on emotions of security, love and connection. The partner can also apply pressure with their hands on the back of the birthing person to help relieve pain.
As labor progresses and movement can be more difficult, you may find a particular position that is comforting and helps you through each contraction. Changing this position about every 30 minutes can help progress labor.
Different positions can include:
For a slow labor I always recommend the Miles Circuit. It is even great to start practicing at around 37 weeks to help prepare for childbirth. The Miles Circuit consists of 3 positions/movement that you do for 30 minutes each.
What ever movement or position you end up using during the birthing process, make sure you are comfortable, secure, and it works with your body to help your baby enter this world.