POSITIONS FOR LABOR
“Nothing disturbs the course of labour more than fear…
fear is caused and intensified by ignorance (108, Dick-Read)”.
When a woman understands the physiological functions that is designed by nature, and has support in the process, fear dissipates. Ignorance breeds the fear.
In this blog post, I hope to explain the optimum positions for final state of birthing, when the baby is in position and about to enter the world. Dick-Read says regarding the mother about to give birth “If left alone she may escape one of the greatest causes of trouble, which is interference by those who, being kindly but misinformed, fell they must DO something for her (182)” The old tried and true methods always are successful…
Research has shown that women who move around during labor and who are upright during delivery experience less pain, have sorter labor times, less vaginal tears/smaller tears/ get fewer episiotomies, have babies with less fetal distress on the fetal monitor tracings with better blood and oxygen supplies.
The “squat” is the best over-all position for mothers world-wide.
It is “labor-friendly” because:
• It speeds the labor progress
• It widens the pelvic openings
The change from supine (lying flat on one’s back) to squat position opens the pelvic region 20-30%
-Supine: narrow and curving tunnel for baby to work through
-In squat position the baby travels down a wider and straighter path.
-The best angle of the uterus for delivery
-It allows for perineal relaxation and therefore there are less tears
-Good relief for back pain
-It allows for improved oxygen for the baby
-It allows the facilitation of placenta delivery
When to Squat:
When labor needs to be sped up, the squat is optimum. It increases in intensity due the pressure of the baby’s head on the cervix. It is seldom necessary during the first stage of labor, while the cervix is dilating.
It is better to wait until the second stage, to keep from tiring the legs and conserve energy.
Ideally, the best time to squat is when the birth attendant states you are fully dilated. For more efficient use of the squat, wait until the the contractions begin, then squat and (when time) push. Between contractions, rest on your knees or sit back.
The second stage will be shorter…although, more intense.
How to do a squat:
It is best to begin to practice the position of squatting, during pregnancy in order to have your muscles conditioned for its use.
• Place your feet at least shoulder width apart and begin to descend gradually.
~DO NOT BOUNCE~
• Move the knees at least as far apart as your feet, keep your feet flat.
o If you have difficulty with keeping your feet flat, wear a shoe or slipper with a low heel.
• Keeping your weight to the outside of the feet keeps you reminded to have the knees wide apart.
o Another way to remind yourself is to clasp your hands together and rest your elbows on the
inside of your knees.
Part 2 coming next week