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Labor and Delivery - Labor Positions

In most cases, you don't have to lie in bed the whole time you're in labor. (If you have an epidural or have certain health problems, you may have to stay in bed.) You can choose whichever position feels most comfortable. You may want to walk, sit on a big rubber ball, or kneel. The position that feels best for you may change as you move through labor:

Moving around and changing positions during labor may help you feel more comfortable and might help reduce the length of labor.5

Birthing positions

Birthing positions for pushing include squatting, reclining, or using a birthing chair, stool, or bed. You may find that certain positions are more comfortable than others during the pushing stage. Speak to your doctor or midwife about different birthing positions before your labor begins.

  • Kneeling, getting down on your hands and knees, or leaning onto a birthing ball may help to take pressure off your back. This position might also help with back labor.
  • Squatting may help you push more effectively.
  • Lying on your back in a semi-reclining position with your legs supported by stirrups is a common birthing position used in the United States. While pushing, your doctor or midwife may have you grab behind your knees and pull up.
  • Lying on your side is helpful if you are tired of lying on your back.
  • Some birthing centers use a birthing stool or chair during the pushing stage. A birthing chair may help you feel more comfortable.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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