Sitting Positions for Childbirth

Sitting positions for birth, while they may not evoke a pretty mental picture, especially toilet sitting, can be very effective  for the laboring mother.  These birth positions are favourable in that the mother's weight is supported without putting pressure on the perineum, which is helpful in preventing tears.  She can move her pelvis and encourage the baby to shift position or descend further towards the pelvic outlet.  This is also a restful position that conserves the mother's energy and helps maintain body-wide relaxation.  Gravity also aids labor in any seated position.

The Toilet-Sitting Position

This position can be assumed as the name would suggest or with some variations. The mother can sit facing the tank so a birth companion can rub her back or apply counter pressure.  If needed, her feet can be supported with low stools to open the pelvis further.

It can also be useful if the amniotic fluid is dripping or the mother feels a constant need to urinate.  It can prevent uncomfortable trips in and out of the restroom if she just plans to take up residence there for a time.

Reclining Childbirth Positions

These modified positions usually involve pillows or other such supports.  They are beneficial for complete relaxation.  Using a recliner is the most obvious choice.  If one is not available, then a wall or even a birthing pool can become options. 

These are beneficial for getting some rest or when the mother wants to lie down but finds she feels less in control or is having more difficulty regulating her breathing.

Rocking Chairs

Using a rocking chair can be one the most comforting  sitting position.  It allows the mother to use rhythmic movement to regulate her breathing as well as encouraging the progression of labor.  She is also able to fully extend her legs and experiment with different speeds of movement during and between contractions.

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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE

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