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What position did you give birth in, and did it work for you?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I'm having my first baby in April/May. My doctor told me I can push in whatever position I want except she doesn't think she can catch the baby if I'm squatting ("I've tried it in the past and it doesn't work"). Overall, I like this doctor and unfortunately because of insurance reasons and because of where I live, I feel a natural hospital birth with her and my doula is my best option. (My doula says my doc is generally very hands off and natural birth friendly).

 

All this has me wondering, though--in what position did you push your baby out? Were you on your back? Side? All fours? Squatting? My hope is that my body will help me know what is best when the time comes but I'm very curious about what positions others were in and how it worked for them. How did you know what position to be in--did someone coach you or was it instinct?

 

In retrospect, do you think this was the best position for you at the time?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 56

My first was a c-section, but my last two were natural births.  Ds2 was born while I was sitting on my bed, leaning back on my dh.  His shoulders gave me a gnarly 2nd degree tear.  I used the same MW with my ds3 and, while I was pushing, I really wanted to get back in that position (leaning on dh), but she told me she could see the scar tissue from my last birth stretching and if I didn't want to tear again I needed to change it up.  So he ended up being born while I was in strange half standing/half squatting position (kind of like the "toes over knees" squat that you do on an aerobics video).  So, for me, it was part instinctual, part coached.

post #3 of 56

For my first VBAC, I pushed/delivered on my back.  The doctor was a brand new resident and couldn't find my vagina while on my hands and knees.  In order to keep her hands out of my behind, I got onto my back quickly!  I had a very long pushing phase and tore pretty badly.

 

For my second VBAC (at home), I pushed on my hands and knees, but leaning over the birth ball.  This worked perfectly, no tears and delivered in 4 pushes. 

post #4 of 56

For the last two, I finished out labor and pushed on hands and knees.  It was *awesome*.  So much better than the lithotomy position I ended up in with my first.

post #5 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayGee View Post

The doctor was a brand new resident and couldn't find my vagina while on my hands and knees.  In order to keep her hands out of my behind, I got onto my back quickly!  

 

Jeez-oh-Pete, and they wonder why we worry about birthing in the hospital?!?!  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

I tried flipping to hands-and-knees to push with my first birth (HB hospital transfer) and everyone got all freaked out about it. "You'll pull out your IV!" "You'll fall off the bed!" And nobody knew how to help support me in that position, they just backed off and watched. I felt like a circus animal. FInally I turned over and flipped onto my back again, 'cause they knew what to do with that one.  eyesroll.gif

post #6 of 56

I tried squatting with my dd and I couldn't keep my knees far enough apart for the midwife to see. We managed anyway.

 

For ds, I gave birth standing up. He came out with two pushes. The midwife sat cross legged on the floor and caught him. This was in a hospital, the young nurse said she's never seen a mom smile during the pushing stage before.

post #7 of 56

 

I'm kind of an odd duck in the natural birth world, because I need to be coached through pushing, at least in terms of what position to get in to do it.  For me pushing is by far the most painful part of the whole process (but bear in mind that many women have totally the opposite experience) and I kind of lose it mentally and don't know what to do.  At my last birth, after a really bad transition contraction where I was standing up, I said I couldn't do this anymore and my midwife asked if I wanted to lie on my side to push and I said, "I don't know."  So that's how I ended up, though I had rolled over onto my back by the time he came out because even with support it hurt to hold my leg up that long when I was on my side.  For my first birth, I was on my back in what I think is called the McRoberts position, holding my legs with my arms so that my knees were up by my chest.  That was after first doing tug of war and then using the squat bar.  With that birth my pushing was totally coached but I really needed them to do that because I had no freaking clue how to most effectively push.  I was totally out of it and probably would have just laid there and cried and screamed if someone hadn't been helping me. 

 

Like I said, many women know how to push and it's instinctive for them, and I don't necessarily think the positions I pushed in were the best ones going, but just wanted to add to the mix the possibility that you might want to be coached.  I never thought I would but I accept it now as part of how I birth.

post #8 of 56

Although I had planned ahead of time on possible trying different positions I sort of happened to be on the bed on my back at the time when my body started spontaneously pushing.   I think i was semi sitting - knees bent.  It was really fast for me (15 minutes - first baby!) and since that was working (and felt sooo much better then transition) that is the position I delivered DD in.  Was using midwives at a hospital btw.    Hoping to be in a birth tub this time!

post #9 of 56

After trying all sorts of positions to push in I finally asked to use the birthing stool. It was just what I need to deliver DS who was posterior at birth.

post #10 of 56
I know I'm probably the odd one out, but I feel sorry for your doctor. It sounds like she's very open-minded about birth positions, but has never been trained in catching babies. Most doctors only see variations of the lithotomy position, and maybe in "emergencies" use McRoberts. It stood out to me that she said she's tried to catch babies in the squatting position, but can't make it work. This is because she is self-taught, she's never seen how it can be done. If she's really interested, she may benefit from shadowing a midwife for a few births rather than continue trying to work outside her comfort level.

To get to your question, I don't think you can really predict what position will be best for you. You really have to take it when the time comes, and go by how you feel. Do what your body tells you.

I had always pictured myself squatting, but when I was in labor I found I couldn't balance that way, even supported it took too much energy. I pushed for 3 hours with my firstborn, first on the toilet, then kneeling over a birth ball, and finally lying down. It helped to keep moving periodically.
post #11 of 56
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I don't know if I feel sorry for her (surely she knows that many people do give birth squatting, so there's a way to make it work?) but I appreciate that she had at least tried it. I have to tell myself she's attended a lot more births than I have and is speaking from personal experience, but it did surprise me to hear her say that. To her credit, she was also supportive and understanding of my desire to try it without an epidural, and mentioned that med-free moms are way more effective pushers, and the pushing stage generally is significantly shorter for them.

 

Thanks for all these responses--they are super helpful.

post #12 of 56
Well, maybe "feel sorry for" was a strong phrase. But doctors are used to being the experts in their field. In medicine, the doctor's word is the final authority. Many doctors wouldn't consider seeking training or experience outside their field because they tend to believe that if they have trouble with something, then it can't be done safely. That was the mindset I was thinking of.
post #13 of 56

In my homebirth, I pushed flat on my back (my choice nobody suggested it) to slow a too intense and fast 2nd stage (the contraction didn't quit the whole 15 minutes), then when he was almost crowning I got up to kneeling, then as he was born moved to hands and knees so DH, behind me, could catch. I had meant to catch but was in no condition to manage it after that. Having options in mind is great but there's no way you can plan ahead, different positions work with different situations and what works best will feel most right.

post #14 of 56

I squatted (not coached - it was the one moment of my labour where I felt in tune with my body and just did the right thing). DD was born with no tearing, despite a nuchal hand, so I'm a fan! Mum birthed 6 babies in 6 different positions (well, one was an emergency C-sec, so not much choice there!), and always swore she "got it right" on the last birth, which was hands and knees... or more like elbows and knees, she was supporting her arms on a beanbag. 

 

Honestly, if you squat to give birth you'll probably be on a bed, not poised over a 40-foot drop to spiked concrete - so it doesn't matter that much if your MW doesn't catch the baby. DH caught DD, standing behind me - at least, he caught her head and kind of "missed" her body, so it fell on the bed - but it was such a short drop it didn't really matter, and the bed was soft. DD hasn't suffered any ill effects that I know of. :p You could even put a cushion or towel down if you wanted to make it extra soft - something you don't mind getting dirty. Your MW will probably find that catching a baby in that position isn't actually that hard, but if neither she nor you nor your DP (or other birth attendants, or whatever!) manage, it likely won't be a big deal. In short: squatting's not the only good way to give birth, but if you want to do it you should do it. It really does increase the available "space" - isn't it by something like 30% compared to the lithotomy position? And a squat or semi-squat has a lot of precedence in a wide variety of cultures. So maybe your MW should just get over it! :)

 

ETA: I squatted on a hospital bed with the front end put right up, like 90 degrees... so I could cling to that for balance, and bury my face in the mattress when applicable. :p Having something to hold onto was definitely a plus, as my balance isn't great and I'm not used to squatting for extended periods of time. If you do a waterbirth, you can probably hold on to the edge of the tub.

post #15 of 56

Hands & knees felt best to me. No one coached me at all. But then DS' HR was dropping, so my MW had me get on my left side - in addition to them giving me oxygen. I felt like it hurt more & I didn't have as much power in my pushes. So when his HR recovered, I got back on H&K but then it dropped again. MW said, "Meg you may like that position but baby doesn't." So I got back down & pushed him out that way with the MW, then DH helping hold my right leg.

Side-lying is supposed to be good to avoid tears & I'm glad such a simple 'intervention' (if you could even really call it that) easily resolved the non-reassuring hear tones, so I was happy with that.

post #16 of 56

I ended up pushing out my DD while on my back. My labor was very intense and fast, and honestly, being on my back slowed it down a little to where I could handle it. Every other position I tried was too much for me. Weird.

post #17 of 56

First birth : semi reclining b/c I figured it would be more convenient for the doctor. lol.gif

 

Second birth: on my knees, hugging my doula as my husband caught from behind (he caught her on the first bounce)

 

Third birth: squatting, caught baby myself

 

Fourth birth: semi recling, not because it was more convenient for the doctor but because I was most comfortable in that position at that time.

post #18 of 56

Squating and my Midwife caught him just fine. I really loved the position I was in, felt great.

post #19 of 56


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmiranda View Post

 

I'm kind of an odd duck in the natural birth world, because I need to be coached through pushing, at least in terms of what position to get in to do it.  For me pushing is by far the most painful part of the whole process (but bear in mind that many women have totally the opposite experience) and I kind of lose it mentally and don't know what to do.


Yep. This was me.

 

My MW asked several times if I wanted to try squatting, standing, sitting on the toilet, etc. I wanted nothing to do with any of it. I also delivered in the McRoberts position. I pushed for 3.5 hours and was simply exhausted, and really felt like I needed to be lying down between contractions. Granted, DD may have delivered faster if I had had the aid of gravity, but the pressure when I was vertical was simply unbearable for me.

post #20 of 56

Weird thinking they "don't know how" to catch a baby born from a squatting mother? I mean.. is it REALLY that much more complex than making sure the baby doesn't fall? My MW has a pic on her website, of a mother squatting while leaning up against her bed, but with a dresser right behind her. You can see my MW's legs sticking out from under the bed because thats where she went to catch the baby :D 

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