Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Active birth is something I feel so passionately about.
There are so many reasons why we should be encouraging women to use active birth techniques to really support a babies journey through the birth process, to minimise their pain and discomfort and to maximise their bodies ability to successfully birth their child.
Women have been birthing in an active position for thousands of years. So where did we change tact? When did birthing on our backs become 'the norm' and why haven't we been encouraged to include active positions in our birth plan in current society?
The whole idea of lying on our backs to birth began when anasethesia became popular for birth in the 1920's. Laying on our back was convenient for our doctors, making it easier way for them to predict what is going on as they have uninterrupted access to the birth canal. It also made it easier for them to monitor baby, administer medications and of course for them to help 'pull' baby out.
But what if this actually makes birthing more difficult and can lead to other complications throughout birth?
All current research demonstrates that birthing in an upright position, be it a stool, standing, squatting, on all fours or in a birth spa actually reduces the length of birth, makes it easier to manage pain and has less risk of intervention while laying on your back (or sacrum) can reduce the pelvic outlet by up to 30% which is a LOT when we're talking birth.
Sounds good doesn't it?!
So what do you need to do to ensure you are able to utilise these techniques?
If you're planning on birthing at home, or a birth retreat, then the world is your oyster. You can use anything you desire such as birth stools, spa's exercise/fit balls, your bed, couch and all your support people to help you move with baby as you bring them into the world.
If planning a hospital birth then it's important to chat to your doctors and midwives about hospital protocol, what you want for your birth and what restrictions they may have in place.
Unfortunately many hospitals are still encouraging birthing on your back rather than facilitating active birth but the trend is beginning to favour women who want to be more involved and support their baby with active birth techniques.
Write a birth plan, including the positions you would like to use for pain relief and foetal positioning and have a support person with you (other than your partner) to assist in having it adhered to.