Upright birth is not something we are familiar with right?
Most images we see in films, TV shows and even hospital antenatal classes show a woman on the bed and on her back. But for most women that is probably the worst position she can be in to give birth.
Your pelvis is designed to move during birth. Your sacrum, which is the very lowest part of your spine and forms part of the pelvic girdle, can move to give baby extra space to get out. It can give as much as 30% more room. YES !!!! 30% . That's a lot when you're trying to birth a baby.
BUT if you lie on your back you block that movement of the sacrum. It quite simply can't get out of the way. Which goes a long way to explain some of the major issues that women have in labour such as pain, tearing and stalled labours.
And the solution is really simple. Give birth birth in an upright position. If you do then research has shown that there is
25% reduction in assisted (forceps or vacuum) birth
25%reduction in episiotomy rates
54% reduction in abnormal fetal heart rates
a shorter pushing stage
less need for synthetic oxytocin
AND (drumroll please) LESS PAIN
Being upright gives more space to your baby and helps them get into the best position possible for birth. Babies don't have to work as hard to get out, labour is faster and therefore they are less likely to get into distress. This reduces the need for interventions such as synthetic oxytocin or forceps/vacuum birth.
So essentially a shorter, less painful and less risky labour for you and your baby. Who doesn't want that? Upright birth does not mean you have to be standing up. You can birth on all fours on a mat, get into the bath, use a ball, squat. There are so many options not just on the bed. And they are totally safe too.
Even if you have an epidural and need to stay on the bed you there are still options such as a peanut ball which will keep your pelvis open and your sacrum free to move.
The picture above shows as fantastic delivery suite with loads of tools such as pool, ball, mat, and birth stool. If your delivery suite doesn't look like this you can ask for what you want. Most hospitals have balls, mats, CUB ( continuous upright birth) stools, them available but often if you don't ask for them they stay hidden away. Positions for birth with and without an epidural are one of the many topics I teach in my GentleBirth workshops. You can find more details below. Understanding about upright birth is probably the most important thing you can know to help you have a positive birth. Send this blog to any pregnant friends who needs to know too.