Have you given any thought to the actual position you will be in while birthing your baby?

Most of us have a picture in our heads of lying in a hospital bed strapped to beeping machines. And yet how many of us know that this position is quite possibly the worst position for the passage of your baby through the pelvis?

Why is this so?

First of all, being upright during labour helps the baby engage within the pelvic inlet (the top of the pelvis). When this happens, the pelvic bones move apart to accommodate the baby’s head.


Circling the hips and moving encourages the weight of the baby’s head downwards and aids in opening the cervix. The uterus contracts from the top, pressing the baby towards the cervix and by standing up, gravity can certainly help with this.

As the baby descends into the birth canal, the sacrum shifts backwards increasing the diameter of the pelvis. Most women, if left to their own devices will assume a position that naturally facilitates this action. The best position at this stage is the half squat, because it opens the pelvic bones and stretches the pelvic floor. At this point the baby’s head is supported by the pelvic diaphragm, the deeper part of the pelvic floor muscles.

pelvis standing

The “tipping forward” of the pelvis also encourages the correct positioning of the baby into the birth canal. Similarly, a hands and knees position will have a good effect on the position of the pelvis.

all fours

So lying on your back during labour and birth limits the ability of the pelvis to open up and may be a cause of labour being longer and harder than it needs to be.

It’s a simple thing to stand and deliver.

I think it’s worth a try.


Carolyne Anthony

The Center for Women's Fitness
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