Cochrane reviews (a culmination of the world’s best randomised controlled trials) tell us that being more upright throughout labour creates shorter labours, less need for augmentation and less need for medical pain relief.
Understanding that you can create up to 30% more space in the pelvis by being off the bed for pushing but also by being upright and free to move during labour means there will be a lot less effort for you and everyone.
Active Birthing originated as a movement in London, England by Janet Balaskas, yoga teacher and childbirth educator. Her work was equally as important then as it is today because we are so often shown that good women lie down during their birth and are quiet etc.
To bring babies down and into the world they often need a little help of relaxation, gravity and our movement by swaying, spiralling or rocking. Baby’s need to do a very twisty funky 1980’s style dance move to get through the pelvis so the more we move the more we help them find their way. By labouring off the bed eg. leaning forwards during labour or standing and moving we also help our babies’ stay in a more optimal position and avoid posterior or back labour.
The more we move the more we are distracting ourselves from pain and stopping our muscles from tightening, as well as letting gravity help our baby along the birth path.
Active Birth: Positions for labouring out of bed
Below are just a few ideas for active birthing during your labour. Remember that everything in the house and hospital is a prop for your comfort. Having stations set up for comfort around the space such as mats, bean bags, fitball, bolster and chairs etc will make birthing more instinctive and easier for you.
Don’t underestimate the power of being active during your birth.
To see the other Active birthing images and understand more about the other essential tools for a beautiful birth visit the She Births® Online Course.