1. Side Lying:
· How-To: Lay on side with pillow comfortably under head & neck. Bend top leg toward belly and roll forward until comfortable. Can be more comfortable with pillow or peanut ball between legs.
· Pros: Allows you to deeply relax the muscles of her body. Allows you to rest without putting undue pressure on her kidneys or inferior vena cave. Side lying puts the weight of your uterus on the bed or floor, and allows your uterus to come forward during contractions easily.
· When should I lay on my side? Side lying is very useful when you are having a hard time relaxing or if you are overly fearful or tense. This position promotes deep muscle relaxation.
· How-To: Open and bend knees deeply. Use a ball or chair in front of you for support or have someone behind you supporting you fully.
· Pros: Squatting realigns the pelvis to increase the opening up to 15%. It also uses the force of gravity to help the baby make her way down the birth canal (resulting in a faster pushing stage)
· When should I squat? Squatting is used during the second stage of labor (pushing). If you are dilated enough, as a contraction begins, get help moving into a squatting position until the end of the contraction. It is not necessary to squat during the entire second stage which will cause muscle fatigue. Only during contractions.
o It is important that you do not squat during the first stage as it will close the inlet of the pelvis and hinder the baby’s progress. Only squat when you have the urge to push
· Pros: Walking helps to reduce the total time of the first stage of labor because it keeps the pelvis moving. This helps the baby to find the best way through. Also, it keeps youkeep active which helps reduce boredom.
· When should I walk? Walking and swaying can be used at any time in labor, even between pushing contractions if you desire to stretch. If labor is slow to progress, walking can help encourage a good blueprint of contractions.
4. Hands and Knees:
· How-To: Knees on floor, elbows on chair, floor, or birth ball in front of you. Lean forward.
· Pros: Helps to relieve pressure on the back by using gravity. Excellent position to provide counter pressure.
· When should I get on my hands and knees? This is very valuable if you are experiencing back labor. Doing hands & knees as well as rocking in this position can help turn a posterior baby. Modifying the position of your head and shoulders toward the floor allows gravity to pull the baby toward the top of the uterus, providing some room for the baby to change positions
5. Toilet Sitting:
· How-To: Sit normally on toilet with legs spread wide or facing the toilet tank (the latter allows you something for your upper body to rests on).
· Pros: Toilet sitting uses gravity to encourage effective contractions. It can encourage good bearing down and relaxing of the perineum for pushing down because women are familiar with bearing down on a toilet.
· How-To: You and I (or partner) face each other. You put your arm around my shoulders & neck, resting your head on my chest. I will wrap my arms around your abdomen clasping my hands behind your back. Once in position, we sway together as if slow dancing.
o Another variation is using the rebozo. This allows you to sway back and relax. Have another person behind in case extra support is needed.
· Pros: Upright positions use gravity to increase the work done by contractions, while decreasing the pain. Doing the “labor dance” moves the pelvis, which encourages the baby to move deeper into the pelvis. This also allows me to have access to your back for rubbing or pressure.
7. Birth Ball
· How-To: Sit on a large, sturdy birthing ball with your legs bent out towards the sides to help support you.
· Pros: This is comfortable and allows you some rest for your legs while still requiring movement in your pelvis.
· When should I use the birth ball? This birth ball is a great option for when you are too tired to continue walking, but you don’t want to be in bed. This also allows your back to be open for massage and counter pressure
8. Rebozo Sifting
· How-To: Get down onto all fours. Have myself or your partner wrap the rebozo around your belly and gently pull the loose ends from side to side, jiggling the uterus.
· Pros: This helps to relax your muscles involved in labor and delivery. It also aides in the rotation and descent of the baby.
9. Abdominal Lift:
· How-To: Have your partner or I gently lift your belly, pulling it up & back toward spine. Can be done with a rebozo too.
· When: During a contraction in active labor
10. Double Hip Squeeze & Counterpressure:
· While on all fours, have partner or I apply firm pressure to hip bones, forcing them in & up.
o This pose is great for stalled labors, malpositioned babies, and lower back pain because it mechanically opens the pelvis, making more room for your baby.
· Climb onto all fours and have your partner or I apply firm pressure (hands, warm compress, tennis ball) directly to sacrum.
Clark, Demetria . Certified Doula Education Program. N.p.: Birth Arts International, n.d. Print.
Howland, Genevieve. The Mama Natural week-by-week guide to pregnancy & childbirth. New York: North Star Way, 2017. Print.