When I gave birth to my oldest child, I wanted to do it in its primal glory with no meds, long showers, and perhaps a team of pixies to help wash my baby after he was born. I researched everything, especially when it came to pushing him out. So what's the best position to push in during labor?
All of my plans were wasted when it was discovered that my little gremlin decided to go full Superman and make his entry into this world fist first like he was flying from my womb on a mission from Krypton. (He hasn't slowed down yet.) But for all the other ladies in labor, you get options. (OK, you're probably not reading this as you're in labor, but if you are, go you.) I reached out to certified doula and health and wellness expert, Rebekah Borucki, for the scoop.
Borucki tells Romper her favorite position is the squat. She likes to have her mothers (or herself, she has five kids) squat on the bed and hang onto the headboard while rocking back and forth. She says that you should be "always active and never totally limp." When asked if a partner could be a good brace for support, she says, "that may irritate the mother." (My husband was not allowed to touch me at all when I was in labor, so I get this.) Borucki notes that hanging onto a partner also has a tendency to make the mother fall into limpness, and noodles can not get active and evict your tiny womb occupant. (Or occupants.)
There is real science behind Borucki's choice. The squatting position is what is referred to as "upright" or "gravity assisted," noted an article in The Journal of Perinatal Education. Your body is working with nature to allow for an easier delivery and therefore requires less effort when you're pushing because the weight of the baby is helping things along. Also, the rocking motion, and the need for movement, helps aid in the restlessness many laboring mothers experience during childbirth.
Unfortunately, this position won't work for everyone. Women with bad knees or women who have experienced bouts of dizziness during pregnancy should avoid this position, according to the aforementioned article. Thankfully, you can achieve a similar effect with many assisted positions like those that use a birthing stool, which take the pressure off of your legs, or a kneeling position, which is slightly easier on the knees than squatting, with many of the same benefits, noted the University of Minnesota.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to choosing a birthing position is maybe not "what is the best position to push in while in labor," but instead, "what is the best position for me to push in while in labor?" Because everyone's birth experience is going to be a little bit different, every OB-GYN or midwife will have their own opinion for your birth, and you may find that you need to find what works in the moment, as is the case with much of child birth. It happens fast and is unpredictable at best, so listen to your body, your doctor, and don't forget to breathe.