Every pregnant woman has an idea of how she would like to birth her child.
But, as babies aren’t aware that they should arrive in line with ‘the plan’, it’s always best to have some back-up of ideas of what you’d like to try instead.
5. Upright Behaviour
Standing up to birth your baby is about the coolest thing I’ve heard of! Being upright and moving not only helps to keep contractions strong and regular and for the delivery, all of that assistance from gravity just makes sense!
Many women say they don’t have to even think about the pushing factor, and watching it all happen in front of the full-length mirror, well it makes me feel a little dizzy imagining it. I know that seeing a small human exit your body is not to everyone’s liking, however, I kind of fancy that stuff!
4. Horsing Around
On all fours, hands and knees, playing horse, searching for your contacts, call it what you will, it was my favourite labour position by far! Just being able to let that big baby belly weight hang down while I stretched and rocked backwards, then rested face-down on a pillow was magic. Using a balance ball to support your upper body is very comfortable also.
Lots of women will experience birthing their babies in this position as it lets gravity help pull your uterus out of the pelvis, lessening back pain. It’s also cherry for helping to turn a posterior-facing baby and using that face and shoulders down position can give the baby more room to turn.
When your baby is delivered, your midwife, doctor, doula, partner (whoever is playing catcher) can pass bub through your legs for you to cradle to your chest, so that you can safely rock back to a semi-seated position, then turn yourself to rest comfortably and snuggle that squishy.
3. Just Add Water
Water births are insanely popular, and for good reason too. The calming effect the warmth and buoyancy it can provide is tremendously helpful in lowering stress levels, relieving pain and aiding contraction effectiveness (because you’re more relaxed). If you’ve ever experienced for yourself, seen footage or witnessed a water birth, you’ll understand the grace with which the baby descends from the warm, liquid medium of the womb to that of a similar state in the pool or bath, and then ascends into the mother’s waiting arms. It’s truly lovely to observe.
Shower births also need a mention. Many labouring women have found themselves slung across an over-inflated gym ball letting the warm, massaging fingers of water do their thing when all of a sudden she calls out ‘I need to do a poop’ or ‘there’s a baby coming’ and “hello midwife” in the shower. A lot of home deliveries happen in the shower too, with unsuspecting mums going for a nice relaxing time at the start of their labour, only to have a baby fly out of their vagina six contractions and 2 pushes later.
2. Rancho Relaxo…OK, Not Really
So many times you hear how being on your back on the bed is the very worst position there could possibly be for you. In some situations that is absolutely accurate, like when your baby is starting to move through your cervix but gets his nice, big, round head stuck behind the anterior (front) lip of said cervix (thank you my second born) and then it’s a very good time to haul a#*e off the bed and try and dislodge that baby’s head with some movement. Also, if your bub is in the occiput posterior position (back of babies head dancing with mum’s spine), it’s probably going to increase your back pain if you’re lying down.
Now, if you are incredibly exhausted from being in excruciating pain and you find it’s a safe, comfortable spot for you, then that makes it one of the best.
Oodles of birthing mothers choose to lie back or sit slightly reclined with their legs pulled up and knees all but touching their ears, labouring and birthing quite nicely. If it feels good for you, then it’s the place to be!
1. Whatever Works!
Sometimes, the way you find yourself labouring and birthing your baby is far from what you envisaged, and whilst you’re alternating sucking on the gas with screaming out ‘This is NOT in our birth plan!’ someone in the room is folding that plan up and making a paper plane out of it.
I have a beautiful friend whose first child was ‘supposed’ to arrive in the serene, homely atmosphere of a birthing centre. One back pain-filled, well over-due day, my friend called the staff at the centre and told them to stick it, she wasn’t going in as this baby was never coming (transition, anyone?) and found herself a couple hours later being rushed through the doors of a huge city hospital on a gurney screaming at the top of her lungs ‘MY ANUS…IT’S COMING OUT OF MY ANUS!’.
Her delightful baby arrived minutes later, not via her anus at all, but by the very normal vaginal way.
Take heart if your labour doesn’t follow the guidelines of the birthing book you read cover to cover, or if the position you so desperately wanted to birth in is completely out of the question because you are attached to a foetal heart monitor (me) and are going to require vacuum (me, again) even though you finally worked out how to push effectively (once more, me) because your baby has been lodged for quite some time (sorry kiddo) and needs to come out stat. Nor should you be disappointed if you find yourself rushed off to the operating theatre for an emergency c-section. It takes a brave soul to do that!
Though your position may aid the delivery and allow for some stellar birthing photo ops, the most important part of all this is yours and your baby’s health and safety. Keep that in mind as you listen to your gut instincts and the expert’s advice.
You’re a birthing champ no matter how you do it!