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10 Best Labour & Birthing Positions for a comfortable delivery

March 29, 2023

Giving birth could be considered one of the most natural things to do for a pregnant woman. However, it is not so simple for many and more often than not, it is due to the baby’s position around the time of the birth. Come, let’s take a deeper look into the optimal labour and birthing positions for a smooth and safe delivery.

The Best Labour & Birthing Positions

In order to know how to get a baby in the right position for birth, we should first understand how should baby be positioned for birth.

The ideal delivery position for a smooth vaginal birth is with the baby’s head facing down. The baby should be facing the back of the mother and the chin should be neatly tucked in towards its chest, known as the cephalic presentation, this position is the perfect position for the baby to pass through the birth canal without any limbs getting stuck on the way.

Now, let’s take a look at 10 of the best birthing and labour positions for the mother to ensure she has a safe and smooth delivery.

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Labour Positions

1. On all Fours

In this position, the mother is on her knees and hands, like doing a cat and cow breathing in yoga. If your baby is not in the optimal position yet, this position can help a lot. It can also open up your pelvis and help improve the baby’s heart rate.


  • Improves baby’s heart rate
  • Takes pressure off your back


  • Arms and knees can get tired
  • Getting back up on your own can be difficult.

2. Seated Position

Not all women find it comfortable to push laying flat on their backs. Some prefer to just sit and gravity do the work. You can sit on a birthing chair or the toilet with legs wide apart.


  • Takes pressure off the pelvis
  • Relaxes perineum and reduces chances of tearing
  • Allows you to rest


  • Not suitable if you have gestational hypertension
  • A hard toilet seat can be very uncomfortable to sit on for a long period.

3. Birthing Ball

A favourite birthing prop for many women. You can sit on the birthing ball, move it under your hips to relieve pressure, rest your upper body on it and kneel down (similar to all fours position).


  • Takes pressure off your arms when you lean on a birthing ball instead of resting on your arms during the all-fours position
  • Helps move the baby into a favourable position
  • Takes pressure off the back


  • You need someone to support you
  • Can be hard to maintain balance.

4. Squat

When you squat, your hips open up and give the baby more space to move into the right labour position. Though many may not like it, it can be a great position if the baby’s head has not dropped fully yet.


  • Opens the pelvis and gives more room for the baby to move
  • You can put more pressure


  • Legs and back can get tired soon

5. Lying on Your Side

Many women prefer to turn to their sides rather than lay on their backs when going into labour. Staying on your back can start hurting if the labour is long. You can change sides and help the baby move down when you are on your side.


  • Suitable for women with high blood pressure
  • You can relax better in-between contractions
  • Baby can get more oxygen


  • The doctor might find it hard to monitor the baby’s heartbeat.

Birthing Positions

Now, let’s look at some of the best baby-birthing positions:

6. Squatting

Squatting is not only a great exercise towards the end of your pregnancy or a good labour position, it is a very good baby delivery position as well. It is one of the most preferred positions by women who want to have a natural birth. Be it on land or in water. When you squat and push the baby, gravity will also help.


  • The use of delivery tools like forceps or vacuums can be decreased
  • Dilation is better and faster


  • If the baby is not in the right delivery position, it can become difficult to deliver
  • In case of long labour or lack of aids, it can lead to more tearing.

7. Reclined

Even when you are on your back to give birth, someone will hold you up in a reclined position when you start pushing. A reclined position using a wall or the bed itself for support can give you breaks between contractions.


  • Reduces strain on the muscles and helps you relax
  • When the pushing gets tough, you can just lean back and catch a break


  • Gravity may not be on your side completely.

8. Birthing Stool or Bar

Birthing stools can be used to support many of the above-mentioned positions, like squatting, on all fours or even water birth. Similarly, a birthing bar can be added to your labour bed to give you support for various positions, when you want to hold on to something and push.


  • Takes the strain off your back
  • Aids in quicker dilation


  • Birthing stools can cause more blood loss than laying on your back
  • You may not find a birthing stool or a bar at all hospitals.

9. Kneeling

This position can help turn the baby if it is not facing the mother’s back even before going into labour. The mother can support her arms on the floor, on a birthing bar, stool or even a birthing ball.


  • Can help change baby positions during delivery


  • Monitoring the baby’s heart rate can be difficult.

10. Standing

This may not be the most preferred baby delivery position, but it helps to get gravity on your side. You can lunge, squat or lean on someone for support while delivering your baby.


  • Labour pains felt can be lesser
  • Pushing is easier


  • Your midwife or doctor must be well-positioned to catch the baby
  • Can get messy and cause a lot of blood loss

Must Read : 5 positive ways to prepare for labour

Choosing the Best Position

Your doctor will monitor the different positions of the baby during pregnancy. Baby positions during pregnancy can change until you go into labour. Choosing your labour and birthing positions after discussing them with your doctor or midwife can make the entire experience more relaxing

However, your birthing plan might change at the last minute due to the baby’s position, health or your health. So, even if your well-planned birthing plan does not work out, don’t be very disappointed. Just focus on both your safety and comfort.

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