#1- flat on my back, worked well, I was comfortable
#2- reclining back in a birth pool, was great!
#3- on all fours, he was got stuck with mild shoulder dystocia (and I'd been in that position for awhile) but it was the ONLY comfortable position. he had been backwards and I had horrible back labor, but on his way out, he flipped to the correct position, thus getting himself stuck. lil bugger.
ETA: I didn't tear with any of them.
Hands and knees in a birth tub. My baby was 8lbs 4 oz and had a huge head. He came out just fine. I think I would have had more issues in any other position. I did get three 2nd degree tears. The midwives did not seem to have a problem catching my baby.
I too am one of those women who needed a little more coaching or suggestions during transition and pushing. I expected that I would be able to instinctually figure out the best position at the moment and recall some of the stuff that I read about positions, but my contractions were too strong and close together and they didn't leave me much time to come up with ideas or move much. (Pretty much the only thing I remember to do was to moan in a low pitch instead of a high pitch... and I did that A LOT :) Next time I would plan ahead of time with my midwife (or get a doula) and let them know I might need some extra guidance at that point. For most of labor I was sitting on the side of the bed leaning forward on my husband who was standing. It was the only position that was bearable (out of the few that I managed to try). I ended up birthing on the birthing stool, leaning back on my husband who was sitting on the side of the bed. This was what I had planned to do. Apparently, it works really well because my daughter shot out very fast and it left me with a pretty bad tear. Next time I will also be planning on a differently position that allows for a slower delivery. Water birth maybe, too.
Makes sense to me! I imagine grabbing the headboard would provide some solidity/leverage, and semi-reclining sounds comfortable.
Fiction writer by training, writer/editor of anything anyone will hire me for by trade. Me + D=my girls E (4/2011) and little N, 1/2014.
For my oldest son, he was born at home in a birthing pool. I was squatting when he came out, and that worked really well for me. I was on my knees upright in the pool, and then when he crowned I just naturally went to a semi standing squat.
For my youngest, he was born in the car. So, I was in the front passengar seat with the seat reclined back and I was facing the back of the seat. I was on my knees in a semi squat. I can see this position being utilized in a hospital bed with the bed partially upright and the mom facing the back of the bed. I liked this position for birthing, though it didn't hold a candle to the water for laboring. Bumps and rough roads and such.
Both of my labors were extremely fast and efficient, with a pushing stage less than 10 minutes. I contribute most of that to positioning, and allowing gravity and physics to work with me.
Laura, mama to Henry 01.28.07
missing Jack, born still in the car 08.23.10 at 36 weeks
Loving on Catherine, my 09.01.11, UC
(Slightly OT here...) Isn't it crazy what you remember and don't remember during labour? I was in a really wacky headspace during the last part of labour. I had my eyes shut, and kept panicking if DH wasn't beside me and asking where he was - and it never occurred to me to open my eyes and look, even between contractions. I was given gas to suck on, and I knew how it all worked, but in the heat of the moment I forgot how to use it, and did it totally wrong (took a "sip", felt a bit funny and stopped, instead of sucking and sucking until the pain actually went away). I forgot all about transition; it never occurred to me to wonder if I was in it. I didn't think to touch DD's head as she was emerging, and after her head came out I asked plaintively and ungrammatically "What's born?".
On the other hand, I did get into a squatting position purely by instinct. And when DD's head was crowning I remember saying quite calmly to DH, "So that's why they call it the ring of fire". :lol Labour-land, gotta love it! I hope I'm a bit more savvy this time around, though...
If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.
i've given birth on my back/side all 3 times by choice. with #1, i was exhaused from a 36.5 hour labor so it seemed the best choice. #2 i had told dh to remind me that i wanted to try a squat position to push. it was only a 7hour labor and i was standing throughout the labor portion but then just felt like i needed to climb into bed for the pushing part. with #3,i'd had a week's worth of prodromal labor and had been up for most of the past 2 days. i labored while kneeling on the bed facing the headboard and with the head of the bed upright so i could lean against it. it was so comfortable for labor that was planning on staying like that to push as well. at the last minute i felt like i just had to lay down, so i did. i had no tearing with the first 2 deliveries, and only had a tiny tear that required 1 stitch from #3. he was just shy of 9 lbs and his shoulders got stuck which is what caused the tear.
For both births I was sitting at the foot of the hospital bed, with my butt right up to edge, with the head of the bed fully upright, like a chair, and pillows behind me. I had pushed for a long time on my hands and knees with #1 and while it felt "good" (as good as pushing can feel, I guess!), I wasn't getting anywhere so my midwife had me move to sitting. I gave birth fairly quickly after that, with my second it all went so fast I didn't even think about positions, just got up on the bed and she came out 10 min later.
Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011
With DD1 I was semi-reclining side lying.
DS1 I was ina semi-reclining squat, flipped to hands and knees because it felt right, then back to semi-recline squat on the flat bed when it didn't. That was the position he was born.
DD2 my mw 'broke the bed' into a step, I was ina full squat with a bit of an edge to rest myself a bit as I was really shaky. She was born in a squat.
DS2 was just 5 months ago, again the 'step' with a leaned into squat for his birth. I was in a full squat in the final stages of labor but rested my butt on the edge again as he birthed so I was able to catch him. He came very quickly. 1 hr 24 mins from water breaking/ contracts beginning to babe in arms.
I seem to instinctively get into a squatty position about the same time my contractions go from tummy moans to grunty 'working his/her way down' contractions and go pretty quickly from theree. I also found in my last birth I was holding my belly 'up' in between contractions in the end but didn't realize it until I watched my birth video.
Congrats on your impending birth Mama! Laborland has it's own way of finding a position for you LOL.
With this VBAC the midwives put me on my back for some reason, with one leg in the air. This developed into butterfly leg position while back lying. The had me curl up (feet to chest) when I pushed. Yes, it was weird, but it worked!
1st time around I was in the tub, leaning up against it with my back, knees pulled up to my chest. It worked I guess, I mean the baby came out LOL. I didn't push long or hard and didn't tear.
2nd time around I was again in the tub but I was leaning over the edge, resting my arms and head on a chair. Worked again, probably a little better than the 1st time. Crowning didn't hurt as much in that position and baby / body did most of the pushing on its own.
Vegetarian mother to (3/09) (11/10) and (4/13)
For both my boys I have laboured in the birthing pool, ds1 was a waterbirth and i birthed on all fours my m/w had no trouble catching him.
Ds2 was a planned waterbirth but at the last moment his heart rate was dropping so i had to stand/squat in the pool so my m/w and dh could catch him. Which they did with ease in the squatting position i was in.
With dd I tried the birthing stool but it was way too painful. It just seemed to put a lot of pressure on my behind. So I laid on the bed propped up on pillows. I had imagined having a water birth but I labored in there for a couple of hours then didn't want to get back in. That tub was the best though, I went from 3-8 cm in just two hours in there! With being propped up on my back I was able to wrap my arms around my legs to help me push and my MW was able to do a lot of massaging, streching and support for my bottom. I only had a minor tear on the inside that didn't need any stiches, MW referred to it as more of a "skid mark" if that makes sense.
For ds we tried the stool, then propped up on pillows again. His head couldn't go under the pubic bone so I had to lay flat on my back to get his head out. Then it was up onto hands and knees and ending up in kind of a child's pose with my bottom up so she could see what was going on and work to get his shoulders out. With that birth she had to really manuver to get him out! Again I had just another "skid mark" tear - much to my surprise!
I think that you will find out what works for you in the moment. I was hoping for a water birth both times but in the moment I just wanted to be on the bed. With ds it was a necessity and my postions were dictated by what the baby and MW needed to facilitate him actually coming out! Best wishes to you!!!
With DD I was on my back (in the hospital with an epi)
With DS I thought for SURE I'd want to be on all fours. I planned the set up of the birth pool around that. When the time came I was sitting, leaning back slightly, holding my butt off the pool bottom with my hands during pushes. When I started pushing that was how I was sitting and it never occurred to me to move.
With #1 (hospital birth, pit augmented) I was in a semi-sitting position, I guess. I didn't like it at the time, and really regret it in retrospect (though everything went very smoothly/quickly), but the pit contractions were so overwhelming that I literally could not speak.
With #2 (home water birth), I was in a squatting or froggy sort of position--squatting, supporting myself on my hands in the tub. I LOVED it--that's how I labored most of the time, and it just felt completely natural for pushing. Since it was a waterbirth, there was no "catching" involved--dd shot out in front of me, and I picked her up immediately :)
Why would the OB need to "catch" your baby? Why not just squat and catch him/her yourself--or birth her onto the bed and then pick baby up?
Sarah ~ ds X 12/05 ~ dd E 3/08 ~ 7/12
I had NO instinct at all about what position to be in for pushing. I actually asked, and a reclined position was suggested to me initially. My mom (a CNM) kept trying to encourage me to sit up more (get more upright, let gravity help etc), but it wasn't what seemed "right" to me, so I was semi-reclined with my legs pulled up. It worked for me, and as a bonus I could reach down and catch my own baby. Guess I couldn't have done that on hands and knees!
Mom to James ( 5/2006), Claire ( 6/2008), furry kitties Calvin and Bob, and wife to Dennis.
With my second, my labor was very different (2 hrs vs. 24) and my contractions were paralyzing and continuous. I ended up just birthing in the position I happened to be trying at the time to cope--on my side on the bed, my DH holding my leg. At the time I remember thinking I wanted to be a different position, but by then I couldn't move. Midwife said that in five minutes I went from 7 to 10 cm (ouch) and in the next five minutes from -3 station to baby being born. The crowning HURT this time (head in one push, and body in another push) so it seemed too fast for me. But then, I had no tearing.
See, that's how all three of my labors went, in regards to that end part. With all three, long lead ups, but then I go from 7 to 10 in 5 minutes, from a -2 to crowning about that fast. With all three, they were out with like 2 to 5 pushes.
With my first, I was laying in bed on my back. No epidural and not forced into that position, it just never occured to me to try something else. With my second, I had an epidural, so again lying on my back in bed.
With my third, this past September, I was sitting straight up in the bed. I had been laboring mostly sitting on the birth ball, leaning forward onto the end of the bed. I tried standing a few times, but it caused a lot of really uncomfortable pressure that I couldn't deal with. About an hour or so before she was born, I had climbed up onto the bed and was sitting upright. The nurses raised the bed for me and broke down the end so that I could hang my feet off, they were just barely supported by the bottom end. I just really felt the need to rest my feet and legs. Shortly thereafter, I wanted to try to lay back to rest a bit between contractions, but there really was no between and when I started to lay back, I just got an intense pressure on my back. So I went back to sitting straight up and the nurses adjusted the bed so it was basically acting like a big padded chair. The doc was able to check my cervix in that position and then I started to feel pushy. At that point there was no way I was able to get into any other position, so that's how I was when she was born.
With neither of my epidural free births, I never really felt any instinct to be in any one position or another. It was just how I happened to be when that speed switch was flipped. Because those last 2 or 3 cm go so fast, there's like no option to to change position. With the last one, the docs and nurses were scrambling to get the blankets and such all ready.
Funny aside, my last one could have been born in 1 push, but I wasn't ready. I had the uncontrollable urge to push, doc said to go with it, push when I felt like it, so I did. I felt her come all the way down and crown so fast and I was very NOT ready, so I started freaking out and yelled for them to push her back in, I wasn't ready. That of course made everyone laugh. When I stopped pushing I felt her go back up and I was so relieved so I took a moment to gather myself before the urge to push came back and then she was all out in the next push. I was expecting to have to push several times, not once lol.
Baby #1- pushed on back to get big baby under pubic bone, then most of it was squatting on a birth stool. Pushing on my back felt horrible.
Baby #2- Kneeling in birth tub, then on my back for a while (felt just fine 2nd time), then kneeling again while head delivered, then flipped over on my back after his head was out so midwife could assist with his big shoulders.
Minor tears with both. I hated pushing the first time, and was horribly swollen afterward, but the 2nd time it wasn't too bad- just REALLY intense for the last 10 minutes or so.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
my labor/opening went well, mostly laying down on my side, supported by pillows, completely relaxing through contractions. my partner always had his thumbs or palms pressing on my sacrum with each contraction (back labor). i transitioned in a tub, very intense but fine. all went well and relatively quickly. but then when i started pushing, it was like he was stuck in a maze, and couldn't progress enough. i tried all sorts of positions and movements, following my MW's coaching, supported by my partner. after nearly 6 hours of pushing, we all gave up, they started packing up to transport to the hospital. i completely surrendered. then i/my body went into a very different space and intuitively started moving into subtly different positions it hadn't before. and wha-la! out he came! the best way i can explain how he finally got unstuck is on my left side, butt up in the air, with pelvis rotated into "deep penetration doggie style" lol!! ...we try to understand what happened exactly, but, hey, it worked! i was so grateful to be at home, with patient helpers, and the freedom to experiment.
i hope describing this unique position, or just the power of totally surrendering and allowing your body to move in ways beyond coaching or thought, is helpful.
best of luck to you!
My first baby, who was breech, I pushed out while squatting on stirrups with my knees bent all the way and my body completely vertical, with the OB supporting my weight on one side and my husband supporting my weight on the other. I pushed her out very fast and she was caught (barely) by an intern.
My second baby, who was headfirst, I pushed out while on my hands and knees on my bedroom floor, with the midwife behind me, catching.
Mommy to (age 9) and (age 5)
I had my first son in the hospital. Pushed him out on my back, holding my own legs back. This did not feel right to me at the time, but it worked and I was too tired to argue at that point.
DS2, just born two months ago, I was fully expecting to deliver in a more upright position. I had him at a free standing birth center. I pushed in just about every position you can imagine, toilet, birth stool, bed, standing, side lying, etc, etc, etc, for over an hour but didn't make a ton of progress until the midwife suggested I do whatever had worked last time. So, there I was on my back again, holding my legs way back. This time it felt ok and I pushed him out in a few more contractions. I guess it's something about the shape of my pelvis? Or muscle memory?
ETA: I had a small 2nd degree tear the first time, just a few rug burns the second.
first, on my back legs held by two different people..purple pushing..episiotomy...horrible
narcotics used during labor but I dont remember that at all. She was 7.7 lbs, came out face up and was very blue/sleepy..but then shes 14 and still a little blue and sleepy???
second..broke down bed, butt on edge, feet on table below bed held my own knees and had to be guided when would be good to push..epidural was incredibly strong..ob didn't so much as catch her but slowly guided her out...not a mark on me but she was only 5.8 lbs at 34/35 weeks (unsure of dates) bright eyed and quiet, but alert.
I'm really bummed that OB left the state..really nice guy
third, broke down bed, butt on edge, feet on table...nurse tried to grab my knee to lean me back and started counting for pushing...I stopped mid push and told her to get the *&^( out of my face
baby girl came out chirping before her body was even out..lol...OB asked me to pant instead to suction her out because she was sucking in fluids and snot and to unwrap the cord from her neck...I had a "walking epidural" and it turns out you really can walk with them! I actually felt her body go through my pelvis and shes the only one I actually felt "pushy" with. She 37 weeks to the day and 7.1 lbs...not a mark on me for that one either and she was bright eyed and alert
Thank you all for these great replies! I have my first meeting with my doula next week and plan to ask her about positioning. It also sounds like I should check out what Ina May Garten has to say. Honestly, I kind of doubt I'll be squatting anyway, but what's my doctor going to do, wrestle me to the bed?
I have seen twice OB's call several additional staff members to physically move an upright mother to her back, so yes, if she thinks she should then she just might, sorry.
Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...
I was sitting straight up having my epidural removed when I felt the very strong urge to push and some burning, but I refused to lie down :D My doula counted to three and pushed me onto the bed on my left side. I pushed with my top leg on her shoulder, lying on my side and holding onto the rail of the bed with both hands. Worked for me--he was out in about 4 contractions with only a tiny tear!
8g, 7g, 4b, 2g