Positions for the First Stage of Labor


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Being active during the first stage of labor is thought to help labor progress. If you're well prepared and practice different postures and positions for labor during pregnancy, you will instinctively be able to use these during childbirth. Also see these positions for the second stage of labor.
Woman laboring on floor
Leaning on Cushions
Leaning forward onto a pile of cushions with your knees apart is a soothing and relaxing position, and can also encourage your cervix to dilate.
Pregnant woman laboring on floor
Kneeling on All Fours
Kneeling in an all-fours position helps take the weight off your back. This position also allows you to move your hips back and forth or rotate them, which can be comforting during early contractions.
Pregnant woman laboring on floor
Kneeling and Leaning
Kneeling and leaning forward onto cushions with your bottom raised also helps ease a backache and can be a helpful position to adopt during transition when you may need to resist the urge to bear down.
Pregnant woman resting on pillows
Straddling a Chair
Sitting astride a chair can be a relaxing position because this enables you to lean forward with your legs astride while remaining supported.
Pregnant woman laboring on floor
Lying on Your Side
Lying on your side with your knee bent and supported with pillows can be a relaxing position between contractions, enabling you to rest and re-energize. You may also want to adopt a supported lying position during some contractions.