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What position did you give birth in?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

With my first I squatted.  I felt like there was no way I could get her out without my feet under me. She turned out to be sunny side up with a nuchal hand, so maybe that was why?


With my second I was on hands and knees.  Again, felt like I HAD to be in that position to get her out.  She was properly positioned, but came out in a rush at the end and I had a pretty good tear to my perineum.  I think it would have been worse if I had been on my back.


What position did you birth in and do you think the presentation had anything to do with how you felt you needed to be positioned?

post #2 of 23

I do believe what people say about the pain of labor being communication between our bodies and our babies.  Pain is a kind of body knowledge, information that travels in sensations.  Knowing about the mechanics of labor can help translate that knowledge into action.  When I was pregnant with DD1, I heard that it was important to trust my body, that my body knew how to give birth.  Trust birth.


I think there is something about the shape of my pelvis that lends itself to birthing OP babies.  Both my babies were OP and I had two quick labors.  10 hours active labor with DD1, and with DD2 my contractions didn't get regular at all, or very painful, until about 30 minutes before I had the uncontrollable urge to push.


DD1 was OP with a nuchal hand.  I labored on my hands and knees for hours and saw very little progress.  Then I vainly tried to push her out while on my hands and knees.  Finally, the doctor suggested I get up on the bed and rest and I was so exhausted I was relieved to have someone telling me what to do.  The nurses held my legs up, so basically like a laying down squat, and that's how I pushed her out.  I needed to be directed in my pushing and I think it was necessary because I was so exhausted.  I had a small tear that needed stitches.


When I was laboring with DD2, I was more prepared.  I had learned some relaxation exercises, and movements to relax my ligaments.  She didn't have that nuchal hand, and it helped!  I knew about different positions that I could labor in to help my baby move through my pelvis.  I knew she was OP and she remained that way throughout my labor and was born that way.  I paid close attention to my pain and moved with it and through it, and the labor was much easier - so much so that I believed, right up until the moment I found myself pushing, that I had the better part of the day to go.  


While I labored, I did not stay in a hands and knees position for more than one or two contractions.  Instead I experimented with lunging and going up and down stairs and lifting my belly.  All these things helped so much that my labor was very easy to manage, but I never would have tried them if I'd been relying just on my sense knowledge because my instinctive reaction to pain is to scrunch up instead of breathing and moving.  


The second stage took 30 minutes.  I pushed her out while on my hands and knees (at home, paramedics came while she was in the birth canal bc precipitous).  It was overwhelming - like I fell over on my hands and knees and couldn't have moved without help.  I did end up tearing again and needing more stitches, because once she was crowning I could not wait to push her out.


We didn't know DD2's cord was prolapsed.  I felt it with my hand, pressed tight around the side of her head, but didn't understand what it meant.  I often wish I'd been able to stay vertical because she might have come faster I'd been able to stay upright, maybe lunging or squatting.  I no longer blame myself for not knowing these things, because in the end.... what happened to her is pure bad luck, and I could only know what I knew.  But that doesn't mean that there aren't things that could have helped.  And I wish I knew then what I knew now.


If she had come faster, she might have lived.  My water didn't break until I started pushing and I immediately felt her come down about a third of the way.  Then I fell over and couldn't stand back up and was too disoriented to ask for help.  So then, I pushed for 10-15 minutes and she didn't really move.  There may have been some molding happening.  Time moved quickly, and it felt like a matter of moments, but it was a long time.  Finally, I was able to ask for something to lean on, I sat up to roll the ball underneath me, and then I felt her move down more as I did that, and she was born about four contractions later.  Instinct would have done the trick if everything had been normal, but it wasn't enough.  My instincts were telling me to get her out as fast as possible, but I couldn't make it happen faster.  I was pushing between contractions and without knowing her life was at risk, I was begging her to come out.  But we needed someone to recognize right then that her cord was pinched and that I needed to probably be in any position but on my back or on my hands and knees (both slow downward descent, good for a fast labor if worried about tearing, not good when the speed of the birth means life or death or brain damage), and that all had to happen in the very next contraction or two.


I do not trust birth at all.  What I took away from my second daughter's catastrophic birth, is that knowledge is important (both the sense knowledge of the body - pain, etc - and knowledge of mechanics), skills are helpful, and efficacy is real, but control is an illusion.  And that birth is nothing to put my trust in, because nature doesn't care if my baby lives or dies.

post #3 of 23

Both my daughters were born "captain morgan style" or one knee up, one knee down.  I'm not sure why I adopted this position, but when we had a waterbirth info meeting at work (I'm an OB nurse) this is apparently a very common position for first time, unmedicated, undirected woman to birth in.  Both babies were OA, and I had no difficulties getting them out. 

post #4 of 23

DD1: Squatting

DS: on the toilet- so I guess squatting?

DD2: standing in the shower, one leg up

DD3: on my back in the hospital bed (she was turned after A was born, and she shot right out before I even changed positions). 

post #5 of 23
Cyclamen...I am so sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story with us. What a sad, terrible ordeal.
post #6 of 23

They broke the bed down into a sitting position. I ended up kneeling on the lowest level and pushing up on the rails with each contraction. 

post #7 of 23
With my first, they pumped me full of drugs. All I remember is laying on my back while the doctor yelled at me to push, and I kept telling him that I was trying, but I couldn't feel anything below the waist. And the doctor just kept telling me that I wasn't trying. So I had a c-section.

With my second, I wanted to push on my hands and knees, but the nurses wouldn't let me. As in, they physically held me down and forced me onto my back. I begged them to at least put up the stirrups, but they refused. I could feel that my son kept almost crowning as I pushed, but then I'd have to breathe and he'd slide back. Finally the two nurses from hell told me I was incapable of giving birth, and they were going to set up my c-section. While they were gone, another nurse set up the stirrups for me, and I gave birth so fast that the nurse was holding my son in and screaming for a doctor. (Why there was no doctor ready when I'd been pushing for over an hour, I have NO IDEA.)

My third was born at home. I woke up when my water broke, went to the bathroom, and then laid down in my bed (on my back) to prepare for what I thought was going to be a long labor, like my first two. Suddenly my body pushed, and my daughter was halfway out. Unfortunately, she had turned from head down to footling breech in the middle of the night, and she got stuck. I think it was my husband who helped me turn onto my hands and knees, and then the paramedics helped get her shoulders and head out. It was all very fast, and it's blurred in my mind. The funny thing is that I've had so many doctors and nurses tell me I HAVE to be on my back, but when I had a real emergency the paramedics wanted me on hands and knees so they could get better access.

With my fourth, I remembered how the stirrups helped with my second, so I asked for them. I wish I'd had the courage to get on hands and knees, but I was petrified over being back in a hospital.

I never got to pushing with my fifth, as he had decels and we decided to do a c-section.

So, basically I have always pushed on my back, but not really by choice. I either felt forced to by circumstances, or I was literally, physically forced to. This time I am determined to follow my body's cues. I know that my body has ASKED to be on hands and knees every time. This time I'm getting a birth ball, and I'm going to try to sit ANYWHERE other than the bed during labor. I don't want to feel backed into pushing on my back again.
post #8 of 23

First 4 were hospital births, on my back. 5th was a homebirth and I had to be on hands and knees. Anything else drove me nuts and hurt more.

post #9 of 23

Six babies, all semi-reclined, chosen by me. I've tried moving around in different positions during labor but when I get down to that last stage, that is where I always go.

post #10 of 23
Both times, both unassisted at home, i instinctively moved to a semi side-lying position in which my upper half is propped up by my arms and the top leg is bent at the knee with my foot on the floor and the bottom leg is bent outward and lying on the floor. Both babies were out within five minutes after moving into this position.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Fascinating!  So many different options, and it is interesting how and why we chose them.

post #12 of 23
2 hospital births in my back. 2 unassisted homebirths on my knees since I was in the water I was able to quickly reach down and pull baby out of water. Also being on knees was more comfortable to labor
post #13 of 23

Hands and knees-ish. I say -ish, because really, I was on my knees, leaning on the side of the birth tub. Frankly, I have no idea why I adopted that position. I don't think anyone suggested it. I definitely needed something to hang on to, though! I absolutely could not have had a baby laying on my back. I spent basically none of my labor on my back, and any time I even tried laying down the contractions were unbearably horrible. My midwives didn't really want me on my back, anyway, as they were concerned about the baby turning posterior. (He had been LOA FOREVER, and flipped to ROA the day before he was born, and they were afraid he was going to try to do another 180 and get stuck.) Maybe part of the reason I ended up in that position was because I had bent over for most of my contractions, anyway, both to help avoid a posterior baby, and also to get counterpressure on my back, since I had ALL back labor. We also had a nuchal hand, and that tore me a new one. Or two. irked.gif I can't imagine birthing that baby in any other position, though, except maybe on the toilet I was on just prior to pushing. But I just couldn't handle the thought of giving birth to my baby on a toilet, so the tub it was.

post #14 of 23
I've had four. My first was a full squat on the hospital bed, but I was pushed back onto my bottom when his head was out because the midwife thought he was stuck. No tearing.

My second, first homebirth, was hands and knees. I labored in this position for the last 5 hours before she was born. No tearing.

My third, first UC, was laying/squatting in the birth tub, so not really on my back because I was floating when he has actually born. Interestingly, I got out of the tub about 20 mins before his birth because I felt I needed to hang by my arms from a bar we had in a doorway. Then I got back in and he was born! No tearing.

My fourth, another UC, I was on hands and knees for most of the (short, fast, scary) labor, but he was born in a full squat, no tearing. He really needed to get out fast as I had a partial abruption.

And who knows this time? Can't plan for anything. In labor I just do what feels right.
post #15 of 23

On my knees in the shower, leaning against an exercise ball. It's what the midwife at the hospital instructed me to do. Also I kept naturally hitting my knees with each contraction while rushing to the birth suite! Baby was in a hurry to meet us!

post #16 of 23

My first daughter I had in the hospital and it was pretty standard. I was lying on my back in the hospital bed. I had tried to do it in the tub, but the hospital staff said I was too relaxed and moved me to the bed where within ten minutes I pushed her out.


My second daughter I had at home and I started pushing her out lying on my back in my bed, but I felt it wasn't doing any good, so I got up and sat on the birthing stool my midwife had brought and pushed her out that way.

post #17 of 23

I considered going on hands and knees, but I wound up opting for an epidural and just went the hospital fashion on my back.  I worried pushing would be harder that way (everyone and every book said so), but it was a freakishly fast delivery.  Next time I plan to prepare myself to try naturally... and I will go with a different position.

post #18 of 23

Side-lying squat with assistance keeping my top leg tucked up.

post #19 of 23

Both times on my back, and both times pushing was easy and my kids were born after a few pushes. 

post #20 of 23

First time I pushed on my hands and knees for a long time, then the OB flipped me onto my back, baby went into distress, she cut an episiotomy. greensad.gif


Second time the MW recommended side-lying to best protect my perineum, and that is how I gave birth.  Had a couple of small tears, partly due to a nuchal hand, and partly due to the aforementioned OB stitching me up too tight.

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