So you are preparing for the big day – your labor and birth is coming up! We know there is a lot to get through when it comes to your checklist. You are probably completing your birth plan, finalizing the nursery, and prepping meals for the postpartum period – but you may be missing one thing! Make your labor and birth easier by keeping these labor comfort measures and positions on hand for the big day (you can download the full, comprehensive Labor Comfort Measures Toolkit – for FREE – here).
What are comfort measures?
Comfort measures are movements that help labor to be more comfortable and help the labor progress towards birth more smoothly. Studies show that movement during contractions or changing positions in between contractions often adds comfort and improves labor progress. It sounds complicated, but it’s super easy. These can be as simple as your body’s natural movements to cope with contractions, such as walking, swaying, and rocking.
Comfort Movements For Moving Baby Down
Evidence Based Birth suggests that upright positions can assist in helping bring the baby down. In essence, good movement that results in favorable change are movements that also help with blood flow to your baby. When you are somewhat upright and not on your back, you are not laying on your aorta. Your aorta is the biggest blood vessel and laying on your back can compromise blood flow.
Steps To Move Baby Down The Pelvic Canal
Let’s move your baby down into the pelvic canal! Like we mention in our childbirth preparation course, there are 4 P’s in helping labor along: Passenger, Passageway, Powers and Psyche. These positions will help you master them all!
1. Side lying with pillow or peanut ball in between your knees. This position helps with keeping your pelvis open, which allows the passenger (baby) to descend. It can be used even when you have an epidural and is helpful should you experience an elevated blood pressure.
2. Simple squatting! Squatting uses gravity to encourage descent of the baby, help the baby rotate to optimal positioning, and allow the freedom to shift your weight for comfort. Here we show squatting with the assistance of a rebozo a tool our doulas bring and often utilize at births – and squatting without the assistance of a rebozo.
3. Forward leaning on your knees. This position can help alleviate back pain, can help baby rotate more, and allows for rocking of your hips. This position also allows for your partner or doula to provide counter pressure on your back, massage or comfort touch, or apply a cold or warm compress.
4. Get your lunges in! The lunge exercise you’re used to in workouts helps in opening your pelvis, helps if labor stalls, helps baby rotate to a more ideal position, and helps to alleviate back pain.
5. Sitting on a birth ball. We encourage you to move your hips in a circle when doing this and possibly using an exercise ball like the one pictured. This position uses gravity to encourage descent, can be used with continuous fetal monitoring, encourages rhythmic movement, and is great when you need a little rest in between contractions. Sitting on a birth ball also allows your partner or doula to provide back counter pressure, comfort touch, or to apply hot/cold compresses to the back.
Final Tips and Tricks
We encourage you to take time during your pregnancy to try all these positions so that when it is baby time, they are not foreign to you! You can either use them all to provide comfort during labor or stick to a few favorites. When we support clients during birth, we recommend switching positions every 15-30 minutes. Constant movement not only takes your mind away from the pain of contractions, but also aids in a shorter labor.
Download our full Labor Comfort Measures Resource Guide here!
Comfort Measures and Positions to Practice When Prepping for Birth
After reading about these different tips you may be thinking, “Where can I find the best pregnancy and birth doula near me?” When looking for the best doula, Tampa is home to One Love Doula Services – which offers a full suite of different doula services.
Check out our different doula service packages or contact us online for quick responses on any of your questions! Visit us on Instagram for updates on our amazing practices and wonderful staff of trained doulas in Tampa!