Birth: The Truth About Lying On Your Back
The image of birth we are most familiar with is that of a woman lying on her back pushing her baby out. However, although this is the position most often encouraged in hospitals, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup Obstetrician/Gynecologist lying on your back is ‘actually unfavorable for birth’.
In her book ‘Womens’ Bodies Women's Wisdom’ she explains that the supine position (lying on one's back) tends to put the pressure of the baby into the posterior vagina and reduces the diameter of the pelvic opening. . . creating the perfect ingredients for vaginal tears.
Advantages of Squatting in Birth
When women squat or stand during the second stage of labor, they naturally increase the diameter of the vaginal outlet as this position supports even distribution of pressure throughout the whole circumference of the vagina.
Apart from harnessing the power of gravity which helps to bring baby's head down, squatting increases the diameter of the pelvis by 1/2 cm or more.
This position also keeps the weight of the pregnant uterus off major blood vessels so there is sufficient blood supply for mum and baby. . . . and less fetal distress.
In short, squatting or standing is better and easier for both you and baby in birth. Indeed women will often naturally stand or squat during birth when left to their own devices. Give yourself permission to work with your amazing body, gravity and your baby too.
You can let your health care provider know what your preference is and visualize your birth plan being supported by those around you.
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