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

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#1 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!


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#2 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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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.


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#3 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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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. 


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#4 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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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.

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#5 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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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


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#6 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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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.

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#7 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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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.


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#8 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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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!


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#9 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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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.


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#10 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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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.
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#11 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#12 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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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.
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#13 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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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.

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#14 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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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.


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#15 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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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.


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#17 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 09:26 PM
 
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Squating and my Midwife caught him just fine. I really loved the position I was in, felt great.


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#19 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 10:49 PM
 
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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.


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#20 of 56 Old 01-07-2011, 11:03 PM
 
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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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#21 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 03:48 AM
 
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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.

That's interesting! I always heard side-lying was meant to slow the pushing phase down (which is why it's good for preventing tears - gives the mother time to stretch), but with dropping fetal heart tones wouldn't they usually want to get the baby out as fast as possible? Or did they figure there was just something about the hands and knees position that was specifically upsetting the baby - like pressure on the cord, or something? I've been reading a lot of Ina May Gaskin on the topic of positions recently, so I'm curious. :)


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#22 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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With my first I loved pushing on my knees and elbows leaning on a padded stool (this was in water). I had my chin to chest and had a good push going. This was my first so I pushed for about an hour like this. After a bit of crowning, I knew I was getting to the point where I needed to be able to not push, so I sat down in the pool and reclined back (and put my head back for the most part). Somehow the urge to push was much more overwhelming in the elbows and knees position. The switch was just right, and I was able to ease her out real slowly with hardly any pain! I did have a minor tear though.

 

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.

 

I recommend doing what you feel like at the time, if you know what that is. If not, be open to suggestions. With my first, I did my own thing throughout my whole labor and was very zen. With my second I felt very overwhelmed and needed the MW to tell me exactly what to do at every point. Afterward she said she'd never seen anyone so "obedient", nor had had each of her instructions work perfectly and immediately--from the breathing to the afterbirth. I'm glad we were in sync and she knew what she was doing! :)

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#23 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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Both my kids were pushed out while flat on my back.  I tore a bit each time, but I'm all healed up with no issues.  My ds I pushed out in 20 mins and my dd took about 5 mins.  I had epidurals both times and pushing was easy easy easy. With my dd I was determined to not push flat on my back after reading up on MDC (even though it worked so well with my ds), and got into a sideways position that irritated my Dr.  I did a UP/ hospital birth and hadn't discussed positions with the Dr. beforehand so I wasn't all that upset that she wasn't happy with me on my side.  I said fine lets do it your way and got on my back and pushed dd out in 2 pushes lol.  She aplogised to me afterwards about not wanting me to be on my side and I told her quite honestly that it was all good.  If I had difficulty pushing it would have been a different story and I would have insisted we try other positions.


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#24 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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Kneeling with #4 helped since she was posterior. Hands & knees with #5 was MUCH better. Wish I could have caught, though. I should have told dh to make me squat so I could catch! lol.gif

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#25 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?


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#26 of 56 Old 01-08-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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I spent most of my labour including pushing on hands & knees or standing with my arms on the bed. I tried squatting & walking & lying down but none of them worked for me. I ended up actually delivering on my back though 'cause we ended up using forceps.


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#27 of 56 Old 01-09-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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I pushed out DS1 while on my back in the hospital with an episiotomy, but did left-side lying between contractions since DS1 was having trouble with hear rate. I had a second degree tear.

 

I pushed out DS2 from left-side lying in a natural birth center birth. I labored on hands and knees, but then contractions were too intense for me to hold my body up. This was the position I collapsed into. I had only a minor laceration on the outside of the labia. It definitely held true for me that you tear less in that position! It was also the most comfortable for me at the time.

 

Don't worry now about what position you want to be in. Just follow your body during labor.


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#28 of 56 Old 01-09-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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I had a homebirth and planned to give birth in the birth tub but when my body started lightly pushing I just HAD to get out of that water! I have no idea why, I just wanted to be sitting upright. It took a few contractions to move me to the birth stool in the other room. It was SO much better (no tears!) and I birthed DD on there less than 20 minutes later! smile.gif I loved that birth stool! So I say, try not to plan too much, just do what feels right at the time.

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#29 of 56 Old 01-10-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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DD was a hospital birth with an on-call Dr. and a nurse who was very unsupportive of changing positions. they were okay with me laying on my side to labor, but just barely. so they really weren't supportive of me trying anything other than their position of reclining on my back holding my legs to push. and I think it was probably the worst position for me, I really wanted to be on my hands and knees starting at transition and in early pushing. I think she could have used a little help positioning. 


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#30 of 56 Old 01-11-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Dd1, I pushed flat on my back (induced hospital birth w/an epidural), second degree tear

Ds, homebirth, I tried a lot of positions and ultimately pushed him out while squatting. Never really felt the urge to push. needed a few stiches

Dd2, another planned homebirth except it turned into a UC since my labor was only an hour long. Totally felt the urge to push this time and ended up having her while I was on my hands and knees.

 

Hands and knees worked best for me. No tearing and it was the easiest pushing phase out of all 3. Dd2 was also my biggest baby, weighing 9lbs 12oz.

 

Quote:
 

Don't worry now about what position you want to be in. Just follow your body during labor. 

So true! I think this is why I had an easier pushing phase with #3. It was the only birth where I truly listened to my body and trusted my instincts while pushing.


Meghan : Kayla~ 10/19/04 Jack~ 5/27/07
Evelyn~ 10/9/10

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