Researchers hypothesize that pushing in an upright position is beneficial for multiple reasons. In an upright position, gravity can assist in bringing the baby down and out. Also, when a woman is upright, there is less risk of compressing the mother’s aorta and thus a better oxygen supply to the baby. Upright positioning also helps the uterus contract more strongly and efficiently and helps the baby get in a better position to pass through the pelvis. Finally, X-ray evidence has shown that the actual dimensions of the pelvic outlet become wider in the squatting and kneeling/hands-knees positions (Gupta et al. 2012).
However, despite these proposed benefits of pushing in an upright position, most women in the U.S. give birth either lying on their backs (57%) or in a semi-sitting/lying position with the head of the bed raised up (35%). A small minority of women give birth in alternative positions such as side lying (4%), squatting or sitting (3%), or hands-knees position (1%) (Declercq, Sakala et al. 2007).
It is thought that most women are encouraged to push in a lying or semi-sitting positions because it is more convenient for the care provider. When women are lying or semi-lying in bed, it is easier to access the woman’s abdomen to monitor the fetal heart rate. Care providers are also more comfortable with the lying or semi-sitting position because this is how many of them are trained to attend births (Gupta et al. 2012). This caregiver preference for non-upright positions has persisted, despite the fact that current major obstetric textbooks state that it is beneficial for women to push in upright positions, especially for first-time moms (Kilpatrick and Garrison 2012). Read the rest of this informative articeHERE.