Doctors Have Been Forcing Women to Give Birth the Wrong Way All Along

woman giving birth

What's the best position to give birth? Up until recently, doctors told women to lie on their side, with hips tilted at 15 degrees, since this was supposed to keep the baby's weight from compressing the inferior vena cava -- a large vein in the abdomen that returns blood to the heart. Well, a new study in the journal Anesthesiology is challenging that wisdom, claiming that a woman's hips should instead be tilted to 30 degrees. That's twice as far, ladies!


Researchers reached this conclusion by taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) of 10 full-term pregnant women lying flat on their backs and tilted to 15, 30, and 45 degrees. When women were completely horizontal (or on their backs), MRI images did show that the baby's weight completely compressed the inferior vena cava, stemming blood flow to the heart.

This can lead to dangerously low blood pressure in the mom -- right when she needs all her strength to give birth! 

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But when researchers tilted the pregnant women to the conventional 15 degrees, they found that this didn't ease compression on the vena cava or help matters much. In other words? The way doctors have been making women labor for years isn't actually the "best" for moms!

The research showed that when a mom tilted to 30 degrees, the baby's weight shifted enough to ease compression on the vena cava and increase blood flow to the heart.

Moral of the story? If a doctor or nurse orders you to lie on your side at 15 degrees and you're not comfortable, try tilting your hips to 30 degrees or to whatever point actually feels better. After all, you're the one giving birth -- not your doctor. So don't be afraid to speak up for yourself!

Have your doctors ever given you any pregnancy advice that didn't feel right to you? 


Image via nata-lunata/shutterstock

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