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I HAVE HEARD ABOUT ALTERNATIVE BIRTH POSITIONS -  DOES THIS MEAN I DON'T HAVE TO GIVE BIRTH LYING ON MY BACK?


Alternative birth positions are often also called “upright” birth positions and basically allow our bodies and our babies to work with gravity instead of against it. They can include squatting, standing, sitting, being on all fours and side lying, or essentially being in any position that is instinctive and comfortable for you.
Being in a more upright position allows your pelvis to open and your baby to move down your birth canal. And evidence shows that women who take a more upright position
• Have fewer perineal injuries
• Have less vulvar edema (swelling)
• Have less blood loss
• Have shorter second stages of labour
• Require less pain relief medication
• Have fewer abnormal fetal heart rates
(Cochrane Review 2012)
In addition, having an active first stage of labour that includes walking, lunging, using a birthing ball and movement (all of which are recommended as comfort measures during your labour) also has positive effects, including a lower risk of caesarean and a decreased need for epidural.
If you think about it, giving birth on your back tilts the pelvis forward which means your baby has to fight against gravity to push up through the birth canal and X-ray evidence shows that the actual dimensions of the pelvic outlet become wider in squatting and kneeling/hands-knees positions (Gupta et al. 2012). There is really, absolutely no physiological reason why we give birth on our back.
What has happened however is that there is a recent historical precedent started in 17th Century France by King Louis XIV and as a result, the main cultural image we see is of women giving birth lying down on their backs. In the current age, our health care providers have also been trained in this method, so it is vitally important that if you are keen to use an alternative birth position, then you discuss it early with your doctor to find out if they will support you. There are doctors in Sri Lanka who are happy to support you, so please get in touch with them.

Serena Burgess
Author: Serena BurgessWebsite: www.omspaceserena.com
Serena Burgess is a UK qualified Doula (Red Tent Doulas), Pre-natal Yoga teacher and experienced Yoga teacher and Teacher Trainer. She comes from a line of birth workers, healers, nurses and carers, and over the years has become increasingly drawn to this work. She became a Doula because of her own positive birth experience. She knows that it is possible to achieve a birth that you remember as special, with joy or at the very least, with fondness and she passionately wants to support other women in having their best birth experience too, rather than being afraid of it. Being pregnant is a Goddess time in a woman’s life and giving birth is when we become our greatest Warrior-selves, if we are given the time, space and quiet to tap into our primal brain and birth with our instincts. Serena provides her clients the platform to do that, with information to prepare them, support to help them make their choices and by being there to rub their backs! She advocates for their decisions and additionally teaches their partners how to be the best birth support they can be. She creates a safe space for them to labour in and the ultimate endorsement of her work is if a mama says “yes I felt empowered!” regardless of the actual events of her birth. Learn more about Serena's work at www.omspaceserena.com
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