A moving birth experience

Mobility during early stages of labor

Women in labor have many options beyond remaining immobile in a hospital bed. Documented advantages of movement during labor include shorter labors, less severe pain, less intervention, and a more satisfied birthing experience than women who labor in a recumbent position.1

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There is clear and important evidence that walking and upright positions in the first stage of labour reduces the duration of labour, the risk of caesarean birth, the need for epidural, and does not seem to be associated with increased intervention or negative effects on mothers' and babies' well being.2"

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 20

Variety of positions offer choice and comfort


Women can choose from a variety of positions that take advantage of gravity, enlarge the pelvis diameter, relieve back pressure, or simply make them feel more comfortable. Wireless electronic fetal monitoring technology, which is also called cardiotocography (CTG), measures infant heartbeat and uterine contractions with quality comparable to cabled technology, and also supports varied positions and freedom of movement.

When given an opportunity, women often instinctively choose the best positions for them. However, many women are not award of the variety of positions possible for labor and delivery, and benefit from caregivers who introduce them to their options.

Standing and walking


Standing and walking both provide a sense of control, and can reduce backache. During difficult contractions, the woman can lean against the wall or her partner. Some women also like to sway in rhythm to their breathing, or stand in a supported squat, which has been shown to realign the pelvis and increase opening by up to 15%.3

Standing and walking

Standing and walking both provide a sense of control, and can reduce backache. During difficult contractions, the woman can lean against the wall or her partner. Some women also like to sway in rhythm to their breathing, or stand in a supported squat, which has been show to realign the pelvis and increase opening by up to 15%.3

Kneeling


Some women choose to kneel while leaning on a chair. Kneeling on all fours may offer relief from back pain and can help shift the baby’s position.

Leaning


Leaning takes advantage of gravity while also supporting the woman’s body. She can lean against a wall, a bed, a partner, or even place one foot on a chair or footstool and lean into a lunge during contractions.

Leaning


Leaning takes advantage of gravity while also supporting the woman’s body. She can lean against a wall, a bed, a partner, or even place one foot on a chair or footstool and lean into a lunge during contractions.

Squatting


Squatting encourages fetal descent, allows the woman to shift her weight comfortably, and may increase pelvis diameter by up to 2 centimeters4 , making it easier for the baby to move through the pelvis. Squatting bars or birthing stools can be used to help support the woman’s weight, or the woman can be supported by her partner.

In water


Many women find laboring in water to be relaxing. In addition, it creates buoyancy that can make changing positions easier.

In water


Many women find laboring in water to be relaxing. In addition, it creates buoyancy that can make changing positions easier.

The freedom to move: Mobility at Burnside War Memorial Hospital

Women with high-risk pregnancies involving multiple births or high BMI often are confined to a bed so their baby can be monitored closely. This can cause pain and may even lengthen labor. However, cableless monitoring technology makes mobile labor possible, even in high-risk situations.

 

View this brief video to learn how caregivers at Burnside Memorial Hospital use monitoring technology to offer mobility even to women with high-risk pregnancies.

Mobility is one of the most important factors in a natural labor, because it allows gravity to assist in engaging the head in the pelvis and it lessens pain.”

Karen Chandler, consultant obstetrician

Burnside War Memorial Hospital

Delivering options for women in labor

Gloucester Royal Hospital and the Heidelberg Women’s Hospital allow mothers to move freely during labor by using Philips Avalon CL cableless monitoring system.

 

Watch this brief video to learn more.

There is evidence to show that mothers who are able to move around during labor have shorter labor lengths. Moreover, this mobility alleviates the work of the medical staff during birth and the handling of labor pains. Excellent monitoring is now possible without interfering cables.”

Christina Schneider

Senior Midwife, Heidelberg University Hospital

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1. Ondeck, M. Healthy birth practice #2: walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor. J Perinat Educ. 2014 Fall;23(4):188-93. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.23.4.188.

2. Lawrence A1, Lewis LHofmeyr GJStyles C. Maternal positions and mobility during first stage Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 20;(8):CD003934. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003934.pub3.

3. http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/labor-delivery/position-statement

4. http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/labor-delivery/position-statement

 

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