Birthing positions

The following pictures demonstrate positions that can be used for pushing as well as for giving birth. You may try several of these positions during the second stage of your labor. Consider trying them out at home, before labor starts, following these tips:

  1. Don't actually push or bear down as you "practice" a position, but simply get into each position and maintain it for the length of a contraction (about 60-70 seconds).
  2. Consider what support you need to get into the position, where pillows and hands of helpers can support you most effectively, and how you would assume a position of rest and relaxation after the contraction is over.
  3. Remember that the position of your body is important as you push. Notice in each position that the birthing parent is curved forward, and that their head is down. Curling forward and tucking your chin helps the baby to navigate the curves of the pelvis. Arching your back and neck is much less helpful to this process. In many positions, notice that the the birthing parent has grasped their legs behind her knees and pulls their legs back. When doing this, it is most effective if your elbows are out, as if you were rowing a boat. If others help support your legs, they should merely support them, not force them back or apart. These position adjustments are things that your birth partner(s) can remind you of as you push.