Babies Should Not Be Born to Moms on Their Backs


mom giving birthFor some bizarre reason in the US, a huge percentage of babies are born to mothers who are lying on their backs with their feet in stirrups or being held by doctors. It goes against every natural instinct and even gravity, yet still we do it. Maybe labor wouldn't get such a bad rap if we delivered the way nature intended.

There are many reasons not to give birth on the back and really only one to do so -- doctor's convenience. But on your back, the uterus compresses major blood vessels, which is why women aren't supposed to lie on their backs during the later stages of pregnancy. This could deprive the baby of oxygen or make mom feel dizzy or queasy. The baby’s head also puts pressure on pelvic nerves in the sacrum, which makes labor contractions more painful.

If the baby’s head is bearing down on the cervix, dilation happens faster. Certified nurse-midwife Katy Dawley, the director of the Institute of Midwifery at Philadelphia University in Pennsylvania, told Fit Pregnancy:

Lying on your side, standing, sitting, walking, rocking—anything that keeps you active can help decrease pain and speed up labor. In the throes of labor, you’re not going to be able to advocate for yourself.

Movement helps ease labor pains and squatting helps move the baby into position. I used a birthing stool that helped me squat both times, and both of my labors were fast, easy, and had relatively little pain. Fit Pregnancy lists the best labor positions in a recent article and they include easy ways to ease the pain and then suggest squatting during the pushing phase.

A warm bath does wonders, as does a birthing ball and counter-pressure applied from a partner or doula. Women who choose natural, drug-free birth don't necessarily do so because they're simply insane or want to show others up (as is often assumed). It's also just often a faster, easier way of giving birth.

The way we give birth in this country goes against nature in so many ways. Why not open our minds to the possibilities and look at other cultures and how they do things? We might find easier ways of bringing our children into the world. Is that really so wrong?

Did you use any of these positions?


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delivery, natural parenting


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missn... missnickia

My first daughter was born when I was on my back with an epidural. I pushed for less than an hour. It worked for me but to each their own.

tayanna2 tayanna2

Holland is a great example of how to mix modern medicine with labor and delivery. I highly recommend a documentary called "Pregnant in America" it gives details without trying to scare the crap out if you (like some pregnancy documentaries do).

arlis... arliss123

I bounced on a birhting ball, and it was great.

jelly... jellyphish

For my first I used squatting bars to labor, they made the contractions sooooo much less uncomfortable and it just felt right. But then the stupid ob forced me on my back to birth and it pissed me off to no end. The contractions were worse, I felt like she was compressed and suffocating and I felt totally vulnerable and helpless in that position.

This time I'll be using a tub and birthing ball to labor and deliver and have sorest made sure everyone knows I'm NOT laying on my freggin' back at any point!!

jelly... jellyphish

Missnickia, sounds like it didn't work for you if you needed an epi! That's kind of the point of the article!

Kritika Kritika

Just another hate article advocating home births. I know PLENTY of people that did all of the above in a hospital setting. Doctors don't strap their patents down on their backs.

Em Chappell-Root

Amen! having given birth three times, once induced, on my back, with an epidural, once going into labor natural, epidural because I feared the pain, and once natural in water, my natural water birth was the easiest on me AND my baby. My Sister in law was just induced yesterday, monitored extensively and pushed for three hours on her back because they "Had" to monitor because they thought the baby's heart rate had dropped the night before, or the monitor got displaced. Yeah, I'll take my natural birth, sitting frog style leaning over the side of a tub, one push with my body doing the work instead of my having to do it ANY day!


Torto... Tortoise77

I had a pubic symphysis diastasis of 4.8cm thats almost 2 inches. After i repeatedly told th nurses that i couldnt put my legs in the stirrups because it hurt they ignored me and forced my legs back and pushed them against my legs. I pushed for about 30 minutes. On the last push they pushed my legs too far back that I heard all my pelvic bones crack. Because of this my pubic bones and ligaments connecting my pubic bones ripped apart. Also my sacrum ligaments ripped. this left me unable to walk for 2 months and limping in pain for 7 months, As a result of my severe sacroiliac sprain i was left incontinent ( urine and bowels) for two moths. I wish my labor would have been different but no one listened to me. they were very nasy with me. my whole birthing experience was so horrible that I dont want to have any more children. but if I do  fall pregnant again I will NOT go to a hospital. I will NOT let anyone tell me how to birth. I trust my body.

Torto... Tortoise77

I have also spoken to a lot of women who had the same thing happened to them and they all complaint about the position they were put it. Laying on your back puts too much pressure on your whole body. It is a horrible thing to go through and I do no wish it upon anyone. So be thankful that your back birthing went well....

Em Chappell-Root

Tortoise, I'm so sorry for what you went through.That's the whole point of articles like these, and why some of us (myself included) are pushy about birthing information. Because no one should go through what you did, and the number one rule all medical practitioners need to learn, especially those who specialize in child birth, is to TRUST THE PATIENT. Point blank. We know what's going on in our bodies during childbirth better than they do, we're the one's doing it! I hope you have fully recovered and healed, and if you want another child, that the horrible experience you had doesn't stop you from having one. 

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