Birth Positions At A Glance: Find Your Favorite

Your child is born as individually as it was created. Every birth is different and none of them can be used to make predictions for subsequent births. Therefore, there are no better or worse birth positions.

However, we can make a few recommendations – because every position you get into has its advantages and disadvantages.

Lying Down, Squatting Or Standing On Four Feet: Birth Positions Through The Ages

Whether paintings, drawings, or feature films: If a woman is shown giving birth, she is usually lying on her back. What is interesting about this is that most of these depictions are of a more recent nature. In older images, such as Egyptian tomb art or ancient vase paintings, pregnant women give birth to their children while squatting or standing on four feet.

In Europe, too, it was common until the early modern period to adopt sitting or crouching birth positions. The specially designed chairs ensured women a comfortable, upright posture and used the most natural birth-supporting means in the world: gravity.

Among primitive peoples, upright birthing positions are still common today. Quadrupedal position or water birth are also more commonly practiced here. Only in the highly developed industrialized countries do women give birth lying down. The proportion of pregnant women who give birth in the supine position is almost 90 percent.

Delivery In The Supine Position: A Modern Classic

Doctors have shown that the most modern of all birth positions is also the most strenuous:

The weight of the baby, the amniotic fluid and the placenta press on the large veins in the back. This disrupts blood flow and oxygen supply. This not only delays the birth process, but also increases the sensation of pain.

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The already difficult passage over the coccyx and pelvis is made even more difficult for your baby in the supine position – because horizontal birth positions require him to push himself up against gravity.

The Best-known Of All Birth Positions Also Has Advantages:

Babies who are in a hurry are “slowed down” a bit by their mother’s supine position. This reduces the severity of the contractions and can help prevent an episiotomy.

If an epidural or even a cesarean section becomes necessary, you are perfectly prepared by lying birth positions, because these interventions always take place in a horizontal position.

Last but not least, this position saves strength, because you don’t have to “lift” your own weight or the additional weight of your baby’s belly.

Lateral, On The Knees Or In The Water – Individually Suitable Alternatives

However, other birth positions are also suitable for managing your strength. Especially when you are expecting your first child, the process of bringing the baby into the world can take quite a while.

Relaxation In The Lateral Position

Then you might be glad to lie down – on your side. Even with this positioning, your baby has to work against gravity, but it doesn’t put pressure on the major back blood vessels.

Lying on your side allows you to rest and relax well during breaks in labor. In addition, side birthing positions are good for an epidural and a change to the quadrupedal position.

Relief In The Quadruped Position

It can vary the horizontal birthing positions or be used alone. Many women find this position provides the best relief from back pain – especially because the quadruped position is one of the best birthing positions wonderful for relaxing massages.

In addition, it allows you to make labor more bearable through targeted breathing. You can do it on the floor, in bed or in the bathtub.

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Water Births

Which brings us to the ostensibly gentlest way to give birth to a child: Water birth is becoming increasingly popular. It offers you maximum relaxation and allows you numerous movements.

Under the influence of the warm water, the cervix opens much faster than “on dry land” and the contractions are less painful than in other lying birth positions.

A water birth is also much more pleasant for your baby – after all, the wet is its element. After spending about 9 months in the protective uterus, it will find it much easier to live independently with water birth.

However, giving birth in a warm tub is not completely carefree. On the one hand, it naturally requires expert support; on the other hand, it is not suitable for all mother-child pairs. Problematic birth positions of the baby or multiple pregnancies rule out the choice of water birth.

The wellness factor also plays a role. If you feel uncomfortable in the tub or you have other concerns about water birth, you will not be able to enjoy its benefits.

Delivery By Gravity

However, not all maternity wards or birth centers have a special tub for water birth. Also, if you want to give birth at home, this type of delivery is usually excluded.

Then you can try one of the following birth positions. They are based on the natural model of giving birth, the use of gravity. By simply raising your body, the birth process can be shortened by several hours, because the birth canal stretches and widens automatically. You can also support your baby’s downward movement by circling your pelvis and hips.


This posture is one of the best birth positions to get your baby “on the right track”. The contractions are particularly effective and push the little one inexorably towards the exit. Gravity, which has been mentioned several times, acts from the outside and does its part to drive the birth towards its climax.

Also interesting:
Home Birth - 7 Questions And Answers About Home Birth

However, we don’t want to hide the fact that giving birth while standing up is a physically demanding act. Your legs have to bear the weight of both your bodies under difficult conditions, and they can get very wobbly.

Fortunately, simple standing can be fanned out into numerous birthing positions – You can:

  • Lean upright against a wall.
  • Hang in a dangling rope or cloth.
  • Brace yourself against a piece of furniture.
  • Or Be held by your partner.

In addition, you can make many movements from the standing position and, for example, walk around or change to one of the other birthing positions.


Elegant is something else; but that is not the point of birthing. Squatting is a bit like laying eggs and may look cute, but it is proven to be the oldest and most effective birthing position.

When you bend your knees and spread your legs wide apart, your pelvic opening widens. This gives your baby more room and makes it easier to glide through the critical breech-pelvic passage. As with all upright birthing positions, gravity helps greatly in the squat – which is especially noticeable when pushing.

Another commonality is the physical demands: the knee-bend posture is quite strenuous in the long run! You need a strong partner and / or a tough midwife to support you while you squat. In addition, it takes a while to hoist yourself out of the squatting position into other birthing positions or into the quadruped position.


This posture is the gentlest of the upright birthing positions. It offers you many design optionsand uses gravity in favor of a shortened delivery.

If you sit on a chair, you should straddle the backrest; this widens the pelvic opening in a similar way to squatting. An exercise ball allows strong movements of the abdomen, but is literally a wobbly affair. Supporting assistants are advantageous here.

Also interesting:
The Birth Position Of The Baby In The Womb

Other options for giving birth in a sitting position are the traditional birth chair and the Roma wheel. They have a support surface for the back, a half-open seat shell and leg supports or foot loops.

The birthing positions you assume on these aids seem somewhat helpless. According to its medical origin, the straddle-legged half-leg position is called the lithotomy position.

The advantage of the “bug on the back” position is maximum freedom of movement of the pelvis and the relaxing feeling of weightlessness. In addition, the lithotomy position is said to significantly reduce the risk of.

Your Body And You – An Unbeatable Birthing Team

So which of the birth positions presented is the best? We can answer this question quite clearly: None! As already mentioned at the beginning, there is no ideal delivery position.

Every birth makes its own demands on the body. Rely on your feeling and try out different birth positions. In the “practical test” you will notice best what does you good and whether it advances the arrival of your baby.

In addition, your body is constantly sending you signals and in this way makes it clear what it wants. It can do much more than you think and is capable of real feats. Giving birth to a child is one of them. It will make you proud and is an important transition from being pregnant to being a mother.

More important than considering birth positions, is that you open yourself to the experience of childbirth. You can’t plan it ahead like you can plan the nursery or choose a first name.

There are so many factors involved in childbirth that you can’t possibly take them all into account. The water birth, the quadrupedal position or a delivery in the supine, lateral or lithotomy position are only variations that you can test out in a one-time staging without a prior dress rehearsal.

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