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Positions to help with an active birth

24 October 2016

Active labour and birth is about being upright and moving to increase blood flow around your body and naturally decrease your pain.

Increasing your blood flow is also good for helping your baby through labour and there are many other benefits to be being active during labour and birth, provided it is medically appropriate.

Benefits the may be associated with an active labour and birth

  • Reduced risk of medical intervention
  • Shorter labour time
  • Less painful labour
  • More satisfying labour
  • Better oxygen flow to the baby
  • Makes the most of gravity
  • Involves the support person during the birth

Positions to help you in your labour and birth

The standing position helps by:

  • reducing the length of your labour
  • helping oxygenate your baby
  • creating and maintaining effective contractions
  • using gravity to assist with baby’s descent and pushing
  • helping during the pushing stage - you guessed it – gravity!

The kneeling or leaning position helps by:

  • shifting baby into a good position for labour and birth
  • relieving backache (a common area of pain in labour)
  • assisting with pelvic rocking (which increases blood flow, decreases pain and helps baby descend into the pelvis)
  • opening up your pelvis to assist with the descent of baby’s head
  • reducing the pain associated with contractions (as you are increasing that blood flow)
  • helping to make gravity your friend.

This position can be effective on the bed or with a fitball. You can also birth your baby in this position.

Fitballs can be a very effective tool in labour and birth. They help keep you active in labour, reduce pain, aid in a quicker labour and can get you and your baby into a good position for labour and birth.

Fitballs are available in our birthing suites for you to use when you birth at our hospital.

Our team of midwives will work with you and your obstetrician to support your needs and wishes.

Through our Antenatal Education Workshop we provide many practical tools for staying active during labour and birth.

For more information, and to book, please call 9370 9420.

Useful links:

Active birth - Pregnancy, birth and beyond
Managing pain in labour - The Royal Women's Hospital

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St John of God Health Care Emma Cook
Emma Cook - Director of Nursing

Emma Cook has almost 20 years’ experience in a variety of clinical and nursing executive roles at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital.

Emma is a registered nurse and midwife and holds a Bachelor of Science (nursing) and Diploma in Midwifery as well a Masters in Health Care Services and a Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Catholic Culture.