It is a good idea to practise some of the positions that will help you through the different stages of labour. During the first stage you should try to stay upright and keep active. Being upright will make your contractions stronger and more efficient. It will allow gravity to keep the baby’s head pressed down, which will help your cervix to dilate faster so that labour is speeded up. Remaining active will give you more control over labour so that you feel less pain. If you are lying down, your uterus presses on the large blood vessels running down your back and this can reduce the blood flows through the placenta to and from the baby. If you feel you want to lie down during labour, try to position yourself on your side rather than on your back.
Coping With Contractions
You should aim to give the fetus as much room as possible in your pelvis and the best way to achieve this is by keeping your knees well apart and leaning forward so that the uterus tilts away from your spine. During the first-stage contractions it may help to lean against your partner, or if you prefer you can kneel down resting your arms and head on a cushion on the seat of a chair. If you find being upright tiring, try kneeling on all fours. This allow you to keepthe weight of the fetus off your lover back. By the time your contractions are coming every few minutes you may want to adopt a squatting position, or you could try kneeling forward onto a pile of cushions or a bean bag with your legs wide apart. It may help if your partner massages your back while you are in this position.
When you reach the second stage you’ll want to find a comfortable position for birth. If you lie on your back you will literally have to push your baby uphill. If you remain upright your abdominal muscles will work more efficiently as you bear down, and gravity will help the baby out. Try squatting, supported on both sides, or with your partner supporting you from behind, so that your pelvis is at its widest and you have control over the pelvic floor which you will need to relax. Kneeling with your legs wide apart and supported on both sides is another good position for pushing.
Once you have tried these positions, experiment with others which you feel may be right for you during labour. Try them on the floor, on the bed, leaning on or against furniture, or using your partner support. This way, when you are in labour, you will already know how to get into position that are comfortable for you and that will help you cope with contractions.
- Relax on all fours by flopping forward onto a pile of cushions or a bean bag to give the fetus as much room as possible in the pelvis. Your partner can help by massaging your back.
- Take the weight of the baby off your spine by kneeling on the floor on all fours with your arms and legs wide apart. Keep the small of your back flat and not hollowed.
- Kneel on all fours with your forearms on the floor and your knees spread wide so that your abdomen is hanging between them. It can help to rock backwards and forwards in this position.
- In this squatting position, your pelvis is wide open and the baby’s head is pressed down.
- Practise using your partner for support during labour leaning back against him, allowing him to take your weight.