Movement in Labor


This blog post focuses on explaining the benefits of different birthing positions in labor. Labor is like a dance between you and your baby. Movement helps bring the baby down and through the pelvis.

First, let’s review the stages of labor. The first stage of labor is the longest and involves three phases: Early labor is the time of the onset of labor until the cervix is dilated to 3 cm. Active labor continues from 3 cm until the cervix is dilated to 7 cm and transition continues from 7 cm until the cervix is fully dilated to 10 cm. The second stage or pushing lasts until your baby is born. The third stage is the delivery of the placenta and is the shortest stage.

It is important to rest during early labor. As hard as it is napping is critical. Laboring people who do not rest, often deal with exhaustion during second stage or pushing.

In active labor, a rotation of movement, hydration, and urination is helpful, in addition to resting as needed. It is also beneficial to change positions every two or three contractions until you find what works best. That works best is generally what is the most intense.

For first-time moms’ upright positions are useful during second stage or pushing. Giving birth in an upright position can be physiologically beneficial to the mother and baby. In upright positions, gravity helps bring the baby down and out. Upright positioning also enables the uterus to effectively contract strongly and efficiently and supports the baby best position to pass through the pelvis. Research indicates that squatting, kneeling or hand and knees positions increase the dimensions of the pelvic outlet. Moms who had babies before or moms’ who birth fast may not need the upright positions. Sometimes these birthing people push side-lying position with a raised leg.

Most of the time the placenta is born within 20 minutes. Sometimes a supported squat is useful when delivering the placenta.

While it is good for pregnant women to review laboring positions prior to labor. It may be beneficial to google different labor positions. Midwives are experts in knowing the best positions for different stages of labor. I cannot stress the importance of listening to your own body. All mammals know how to birth their babies, so do you! Listen to your body.