Let Your Monkey Do It



standing labor


Birth: Let Gravity and Movement Work for You

A woman needs to be able to change her position and to move around freely while in labor. The supine position is the antithesis of an easy birthing. “Movement greatly helps cervical dilation during the early part of labor” says Ina Gaskin, and it also assists the baby to be positioned correctly so baby can move into the birth canal.

If there are no hindrances to movement a pregnant mother will have any problems getting into the positions that assist in cervical dilation.

Things such as:

Intravenous lines- when you move the pole and line are awkward, and you really cannot move freely.

Electronic fetal monitoring: the transducer will set off an alarm when you move because it no longer picks up baby’s heartbeat; causing a nurse or midwife to come running.

Epidural anesthesia: would be problems due to the paralysis of the lower limbs.

Women will not intuitively lie down to birth. It is the outside forces and/or culture that pressures the women into it. There are some common positions that women worldwide have used, including the Lakota culture. These would be: sitting, kneeling, squatting, and on one’s hands and knees.

Some would require the usage of supports of various types. These supports could include ropes for the mother to pull on, birth chairs, stakes pounded into the ground, or the embracing support of a husband or a female birth attendant.

The benefits of upright positions are:

• Better use of gravity
• Maximum circulation between mother and baby
• Better alignment of the baby to pass through the pelvis
• Stronger rushes
• Increased pelvic diameter … when kneeling or squatting

The classic is: walking. Walking is upright (hence assists with gravity), and assists in the same manner as any of the other positions for birth. It is especially helpful in early labor. Other variations are to stand and gently sway the hips, using the principle of gravity again.

Listen to your intuition. It will tell you what to do…

Or as Ina May Gaskin says:

“Let your Monkey do it”

In other words, don’t let your over busy human mind interfere with the ancient wisdom of your body.

• Monkeys don’t use technology for birth
• They don’t obsess about whether they are inadequate in any way
• They don’t pin blame on anyone else for their condition
• Monkeys do not sit and calculate how long labor will take them, based upon how much dilation takes place.
• Monkeys assume the most comfortable position and not a position they are told to assume
• Monkeys are not self-conscious regarding the noises they make…

How can you “Let your Monkey do it” in a hospital setting?

Ina May Gaskin says:

“I believe it helps to mentally prepare
to be a little wild while you’re there”

It may mean doing something unconventional in order to keep moving through labor. Act as you would if in your own bedroom even though you may be in a hospital setting.

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