Movement and positions during labour

If you can, listen to your body and try to keep moving during the first stage of labour. If you move around you are less likely to be tense.

For the same reason, you might want your birth partner to give you a massage or back rub. Movement and massage help your brain release its own pain-relieving chemicals, called endorphins, and being upright helps push the baby downwards.

Sitting on an exercise or birth ball might also help. You can use a birth ball and other drug-free methods of pain relief, such as gas and air.

Water birth

If you are interested in a water birth tell the midwife this when you come in. Water can help with pain relief.

If you are having a water birth you will not be able to have an epidural but you will be able to use gas and air.

You will be moved to a birthing pool if there is one free. The midwives can still check the baby’s heartbeat using waterproof equipment.

Find out more about having a water birth.

Good positions to try during labour

There are lots of positions you can get into that can help you cope with labour. These may change depending on how far along you are. Do whatever feels right for you - these are some ideas to try:

  • Lean on a wall, bed or bean bag.
  • Rock on all fours.
  • Kneel, holding onto your birth partner or the head of the bed.
  • Lean over a chair or onto the bed.
  • Rock your pelvis in whatever position is comfortable.
  • Sit, leaning back against your birth partner.
  • Walk around.
  • Bounce or rock your hips on a birth ball.

Rest when you need to and don't worry about what you look like. The midwives have seen it all before so do what feels good for you!

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Last reviewed on February 2nd, 2015. Next review date September 2nd, 2016.

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