Preparing for Labour
Comfort Positions during Labour
For comfort, walk, move, and change your position as often as you can. Try to stand upright, relaxed, and moving as much as possible to help move your baby down in your pelvis. These positions may help you to manage pain and avoid medications. Your partner can stay involved and supportive by helping you move and change positions often.
Walking (1st Stage of Labour)
- Being upright moves the baby’s head down in your pelvis. It also helps to relieve backache.
Standing (1st Stage of Labour)
- Rock or sway the hips and lean forward while standing.
- Leaning forward and resting on something while standing can be restful and relieve backache.
- To relieve backache, try counter pressure. Counter pressure is firm and constant pressure applied to the back where pain is localized. This can be from a partner's hand or leaning against a firm object such as a rolled towel, a tennis ball, or wall.
Sitting Upright (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- Sitting on a toilet may help relax your bottom for pushing.
- Sitting can be a restful change from standing and can be used if you have electronic fetal monitoring.
- If your hemorrhoids and backache are more painful in this position, stand up and move around.
Semi‑sitting (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- Semi‑sitting can be a restful position. You may be able to nap between contractions.
- If you lean forward and rest on your partner, it is easier to have your back rubbed.
Birthing Ball (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- Balls are useful to lean on when you are in a kneeling position or to sit on if you have someone to help you keep your balance.
- Do not use a birthing ball if you are slippery with oils or lotions.
Kneeling (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- Doing the pelvic tilt can take pressure off hemorrhoids and relieve backache. To see how to do the pelvic tilt, click here.
- To lessen the strain on your hands and wrists, lean forward on a chair or bed.
- While you kneel and lean on a support, have someone give you a massage.
Side‑lying (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- Alternate between lying on your side and walking during the first stage of labour.
- This position is comfortable during birth if your upper leg is well supported so you can relax between contractions.
- It is a safe position if you have taken medication for pain or have an epidural.
- It takes the pressure off hemorrhoids.
Squatting (1st and 2nd Stages of Labour)
- This position takes advantage of gravity and widens the pelvis to help the baby come down and out.
- It makes your legs tired, so change the position between contractions.
- Your partner can wrap his or her arms around you, either from the front or back. You can lean on your partner while squatting.