It’s a simple fact that some labor positions can speed the birth process. Standard hospital labor, where the woman reclines on her back is actually the most difficult position in which to give birth—mainly because gravity can’t really help, making each push less effective. No mother wants to be in labor for longer than she needs to be, so take control of your birthing process. Most OBs prefer delivering babies with the mother reclining because this position is easiest for them. But if you’re considering a natural birth, the following labor positions can help to speed up the birth process.
In the early stages of labor walking is an excellent option to help speed your birth. Gravity works in your favor as you walk, and the gentle motion can relax your pelvis. Tension exists as your enemy during labor; the tenser you are, the more likely your muscles are contracting, which means your body is having a harder time dilating and preparing to give birth. So put together a great playlist and when early contractions begin, start walking! It’s a good idea to walk with a partner just in case your contractions progress quickly and you need to head to where you plan to give birth.
Gentle lunges may help the baby descend more rapidly down the birth canal. And if you begin to experience slow labor, this position can nudge your baby to get a move on. Lunges can be awkward with a full-term belly, so consider using something for balance such as your partner, a chair, or a hospital bed. Keep in mind though that lunges take leg strength, so be sure your thighs are ready for what you’re asking them to do.
Sitting on a chair or on a ball may also speed your labor. This position encourages rest, so your body is likely to feel less stress than in a lunge or squat position. If using a chair, you can sit forwards or backwards. The benefits of backwards sitting include the ability to hold onto the back of the chair as well as having your back available for massage. Sitting on a ball may be your best option if you choose to sit; the ball allows you to make small rolling circles, which in turn can help open the pelvis. An open pelvis leads to an easier labor! As your contractions become more intense, it’s a good idea to find additional support so you don’t lose your balance on the ball. Your partner can hold your arms, or you could hold onto a chair seat or other relatively low object.
This position is a fabulous position to speed up labor. Not only can it help your baby align himself or herself with the birth canal, but gravity becomes your best friend making each push really count. And when you’ve got gravity working for you, your labor will progress more quickly. Birthing balls are an excellent companion to the squat position; you’ll be able to wrap your arms around it as well as supporting your upper body. In addition, the rocking motion may help to relax you a bit while experiencing contractions and pushing.
Remember: it’s important to be your own advocate. If you’re capable of moving during contractions, then considering skipping a hospital bed all together in favor of a position that is not only easier on your body, but that will ultimately speed your labor naturally. If you’d like to meet your little girl or boy as soon as possible, try one of these positions!