Staying active During Birth

By Bertha Yoder

· Family
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Staying active during labor and birth.

Why are we told to lay on our backs during labor & birth? It’s believed that King Louis XIV insisted that his wives should lie down on a table, so he could get a better view of the birth and that's how birthing on your back was born.

Did you know that birthing on your back can result in the pelvis losing up to 30% of it’s capacity to open up for birth?

The "staying active during birth" movement started as a way of giving women their power back. Women are encouraged to do whatever feels the most comfortable.

In the 1980's Janet Balaskas, a antenatal teacher, discovered that women in other cultures didn’t lie on their backs to give birth...... they squatted, knelt, stood, did whatever felt right surrounded by supportive women. So, she taught women relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to use during labor.

Most women still give birth on their backs here in Western society, but the active birth movement is gaining in popularity. Many healthcare professionals are now aware of the benefits of giving birth in upright positions and have a number of props in the birthing rooms from birthing stools, birth balls, peanut balls, cushions to allow for comfortable sitting and kneeling positions, squatting bars and birthing pools all of which allow and encourage a birthing women to move and be active.

When a women is in the squatting or hands and knees position, the pelvis opens allowing more room for baby to travel through and can result in a shorter labor.

Laboring on your back has been shown to be more painful where as, laboring in an upright position and moving during contractions can help with the pain. Also, being upright and working with gravity can help the baby move down into a better position.

It's most important that you are comfortable and relaxed. Move into positions that feel comfortable and try to stay active throughout labor.

Here is a great book on Active Birth.