When my contractions hit me, I hit the couch. The pain radiating across my tight belly and around to my back made me search for a comfortable position. But try as I might, comfort never came. I'd even go so far as to say, I doubt the words "comfort" and "childbirth," have ever appeared in the same sentence. As my husband drove me to the hospital, I started to ramble off random thoughts and ideas about what would happen once we were in the delivery room. Honestly, the words, "Should I give birth standing up?" never came out of my mouth, but if I had to do it over, this is an option I would definitely consider.
At the time, I could think of nothing better than that propping my feet up while pushing this child out. It seemed like the most relaxing option, but little did I know, there are plenty of good reasons to stay on your feet during childbirth. As Fit Pregnancy magazine pointed out, movement helps to mute the way your brain processes pain. So instead of staying locked in one position (like on a bed) being on your feet so you can shift, sway, walk, and squat only increases your chance to fell less pain.
According to the website for What To Expect, standing up during labor and delivery has many benefits for the mother-to-be. Although you may not have guessed it, your best friend when giving birth just might be gravity. Standing up during your labor lets your body work with the pull of gravity to get your baby into position, as well as aligns and opens your pelvis. All good things when you're preparing to push. Being in an upright position also helps your cervix to open and positions the baby to make her way through the birth canal, as Baby Center reported.
The most beneficial aspect to standing up when delivering, is being able to take advantage of the squatting position. According to Very Well, a squatting birth can be easier on the mother than giving birth on her back. Because of the position the mother's body is in, a squatting birth decreases the need for forceps and vacuums, lessens the chance of an episiotomy, and shortens the second stage of labor. This is all possible because being on your feet tilts your uterus and pelvis forward.
If you are planning to stand up to give birth, it's important to make a few safety notes before you end up in the delivery room. First, you're going to need something or someone to help support you when those contractions strike. So make sure your hospital or birthing center is equipped with a squatting bar or that your partner is strong enough to support you. Also, if you receive an epidural, you will not be able to stand once it's been administered, since it inhibits your motor skills, as Parents magazine pointed out.
As with any big decision concerning your pregnancy, make sure to have a good chat with your OB-GYN or midwife before the big day. Knowing your options and being prepared can help make you feel more in control of your delivery.