There are several positions in which you can deliver your baby. Many pregnant people feel more comfortable standing than lying down at the beginning of labour. As things progress, however, they automatically adopt different positions because different postures are comfortable in the different stages of labour or because they help the birth along better than other positions. Childbirth preparation courses will teach you which birthing positions there are and which advantages and disadvantages they have. In most hospitals and birth centres you can switch between different positions and try out which one you are most comfortable with. Ask your midwife or doctor for advice and ask the obstetric team for suggestions.
Many people give birth in the supine or semi-sitting position in bed. This is not always because they choose this position themselves. Often these positions are the easiest for the doctors and midwives because they can get to everything easily and can give you the best medical care in case of complications. Also, lying down or semi-sitting is a good way to rest between contractions. You also have the option of switching to the prone side position between contractions, which helps you influence them with your breathing. However, the contractions are sometimes weaker when you are lying down and you often need more strength in the second stage of labour when you begin to push than in any other position. Unlike standing, gravity does not help the baby sink deeper into the pelvis, thus pushing the birth along. As a result, the birth process is often prolonged. Many people are also bothered by the fact that they can move less freely in the supine or semi-sitting position in bed than in other positions.
When giving birth in an upright position, you stand with your legs wide apart and lean forward to hold onto a wall bar or rope. Many hospitals and birth centres now offer these aids. In a standing birth, you use gravity to propel the birth forward. The contractions are more regular and frequent. This can speed up the birth. Plus, you'll find it easier to breathe than when you're lying down. In this position you can move around pretty freely. In addition, your midwife, the doctors and your companion can help you from all sides. Some people find the pain of childbirth less severe when standing than when lying down. Pushing is also usually easier this way. For the birth process itself, movement and upright positions are very helpful. However, they are exhausting in the long run and are not suitable for all examinations during the birth process. This is probably another reason why few babies are born this way. However, you can always get up again until the second stage if you want to.
Even if you deliver your baby sitting or squatting, gravity will help you move forward with the birth. Both positions are especially suitable for the second phase when you begin to push. In the squatting position you can either sit freely on your heels or on a special birthing stool that has a recess in the middle. Because squatting is very strenuous, many people do not go into this position until the end of childbirth. In the last contractions, squatting can be very relieving because you automatically push the baby down with you. There are special birthing chairs or sitting balls for seated birth. Also birthing chairs have a recess in the middle. Many people find the sitting position comfortable because the pelvis widens just by sitting. They also feel more comfortable giving birth sitting up than lying down because they can participate more actively and thus have more control over the birthing process. However, some people experience the birth in a sitting position as more painful, as the pressure can sometimes be stronger.
When you give birth kneeling, you are in a kind of quadrupedal position, either on the floor or in bed. Support your upper body on your elbows or hands. You also have the option of leaning on a ball or other object. Kneeling positions are especially helpful for women giving birth to multiples or a particularly large baby. However, this position is suitable for all pregnant people in the first stage of labour, and during the second stage many find it pleasant. When you give birth on your knees, you can control the pressure on the cervix better and your perineum is spared.
Most clinics and birthing centres now offer pregnant people who do not present any particular risks the option of giving birth in a pool of water. There are usually special birthing tubs there for this purpose. They are much larger than a normal bathtub and the water reaches up to your chest. For home births, some midwives have mobile birthing tubs. The warm water is relaxing and many people experience less pain in it. A big advantage is that you can move and change your position more easily in the water. The tissues in the pelvic cavity, perineum and vagina become more stretchy and softer due to the warm water. The risk of birth injuries such as perineal tears decreases. Most women who use a birthing tub do so in the opening stage at the beginning of childbirth. However, this is still possible in the second stage. However, there are also people who discover that they find the water unpleasant. Pain treatment with an injection into the back, i.e. an , is not possible with a water birth. For all these reasons, it is good to have an additional birthing bed available so that you can switch to it if necessary.