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Labour and Birth Positioning in Pregnancy

June 27, 2024

Childbirth is a journey that is unique to every expectant mother. The topmost priority should be to ensure comfort at the fullest during labour. If you are giving birth vaginally, you can choose to have labour and birthing positions and not just lie flat on the back. There is no wrong position in labour, and lying flat is one of the least effective positions for delivery. Continue to read about the common labour and delivery positions to choose from.

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Importance of Birth Positioning During Labour

During labour and birth, pregnant women can choose varying positions depending on what makes them comfortable. These can include the typical lying flat on the back, standing, sitting, kneeling, squatting, etc. The best position is a matter of choice and subjective and varies from one woman to another. The position the baby is in, as well as the labour stage, also plays a role in it. Here are a few reasons why choosing the correct position is essential.

Comfort During Labour

The position that the expectant mother takes during labour and childbirth has a huge impact on how relaxed and comfortable she feels. Some positions, like standing or sitting, help manage contraction pain better than others. Lying flat may not be a great position for some, as it can strain the lower back and lead to more discomfort and pain.

Labour Progression

The position during labour has an impact on the labour progression. Positions like squats help to widen the pelvic opening and make the baby's movement through the birth canal easy. This helps labour move faster and smoother and reduces the risk of long labour or C-sections. On the other hand, choosing an upright position can help the baby easily move down. The different positions, like sitting and leaning forward, help with relaxation and reduce labour discomforts. Remember that some positions are not suitable for everyone, so talk to your healthcare provider about choosing the best position.

Reduces Complications

Choosing the ideal labour position can help in reducing problems that may happen during childbirth. For instance, lying flat on your back compresses the inferior vena cava and reduces blood flow to the baby. This may lead to fetal distress and may need an emergency C-section.

Improved Bonding

When the baby comes into contact with the body or skin, oxytocin, a happy hormone, is released. This promotes better bonding between the mother and the baby and also reduces the chances of postpartum depression. So, you should choose birthing positions that promote bonding.

Birthing Positions for Normal Labour

If you are wondering which is the best position to give birth, there is no perfect answer. It depends on the individual, and the best labour position is the one that feels right for you and your body. It should help in the progression of labour and reduce discomfort. Plus, there is no need to stick to a single position as you can switch between positions as long as there are no fetal monitoring disruptions. A few birthing positions work well as they help the baby move or descend. Many doctors encourage changing positions all through labour and delivery if it helps in relaxation and provides comfort. Here are some common labour and birthing positions that you can experiment with.


When you stand upright, your pelvis opens, allowing the baby to move down into the birth canal due to gravity. Staying upright can also reduce the labour period and lessen the chances of having a C-section, and it is considered one of the best positions for early labour contractions. If you are up to it, you can walk around in early labour, or if you cannot walk, you can lean on a chair or your labour partner as you stand.


This is a good position to choose during the last stage of labour or at childbirth. Squatting helps open the pelvis and brings the baby to the birth canal. It also allows you to transfer weight as and when needed. Choose squatting support like a birthing bar or your partner for stability and to prevent the legs from tiring. Know that there are various ways to squat, and some movements are not considered appropriate during labour. For your baby's safety, check with your healthcare provider to know the squatting position that is the best.


This position is considered very effective and comfortable. Like squatting, it helps open the pelvis, and gravity helps in labour while giving you enough chance to rest. Choose the most comfortable chair, a bed, a birthing chair, a birthing stool, or a ball.

Leaning Over

Many women find leaning over relaxing periods between contractions. This reduces the pressure on the back and allows the baby to move forward. One way to get into this position is to lean over a stack of pillows or a birthing ball. Get on your knees and lean over the pillows, or lean on your birthing partner.

Hands and Knees

Getting on your hands and knees is a good option if you have severe back pain during labour. While on all fours, you can do pelvic tilts for better comfort or get a massage. Even when there is not much back discomfort, you can choose this position as it opens the pelvis and allows the baby to move down.

Lying on the Side

If you can't squat or sit, you can choose this position. It is better than lying on the back, as it compresses the veins, which can affect the blood flow to the baby. Place pillows or a birthing ball between the legs to open the pelvis. Healthcare providers choose this position for delivery as it eases contraction discomfort.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Normal Labour


There is no recommended maternal position during labour, as it varies from person to person. The most essential thing is to understand your body and choose a position that is safer for you and the baby's health. If the baby has a slow heart rate or shows signs of fetal distress, then switch to a different position right away.


Why is positioning important in labour?

Positioning is important in labour as it helps a woman cope with labour pain and makes her feel more comfortable and relaxed for childbirth.

What is the importance of labour in pregnancy?

Labour is the process of childbirth, which involves contractions that help the cervix dilate and allow the baby to move to the birthing canal to come to the outside world.

What is the reason for choosing a birth position?

There is no specific reason to choose a birthing position. The position you choose should make it more comfortable for you and help the baby unless there is a medical reason not to use that position.

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