Healthy Birth Blog Carnival: Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor
On the heels of our successful “Let Labor Begin On Its Own” Carnival, here is our second Healthy Birth Carnival! This time the theme is Lamaze’s second Healthy Birth Practice: Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor.
Every single one of these posts is great, and on top of some really thoughtful writing, I’m also excited about the amazing photos, illustrations, and videos our contributors used to show laboring women using various positions and movements. It’s so nice to see active birth rather than the conventional images of women passively laboring in bed connected to a bevy of tubes and wires.
Let’s get moving!
Two phenomenal posts show how important movement is in VBAC labors. Kristin at Birthing Beautiful Ideas writes about how she “moved and grooved” to a healthy VBAC, and the labor and birth nurse at NursingBirth offers another powerful story of how movement and great labor support helped a mother achieve a healthy and triumphant VBAC in the hospital.
Jill at The Unnecesarean points out that, “For first time mothers who have had no exposure to a birth, the time between, ‘I felt a contraction!’ and ‘I have to push!’ is often a total mystery.” She demystifies the in-between time with a plethora of selections from women’s birth stories that illustrate how movement helps.
Wendy at Aruban Breastfeeding Mamas offers “Birthing Positions 101” to an island where women are too often restricted to the lithotomy position to birth, discussing the potential benefits and disadvantages of each position.
The Well-Rounded Mama brings us another incredibly thoughtful and thorough post, this time about the importance of movement in labor and how mobility restriction – and its harms – affect women of size disproportionately.
Do we need to show harms of restricting mobility in order to advocate for freedom of movement? I discuss how a “medical model” approach to research can actually be an impediment to change in my post, “Do we need a Cochrane Review to tell us that women should move in labor?”
Carol Van Der Woude shares a story of how 1970’s technology inadvertently helped a woman birth vaginally after progress had slowed. In the course of getting out of bed and going to another part of the hospital to get an x-ray of her pelvis (yes, this was common practice 30 years ago!) the baby finally found the right fit through the woman’s pelvis and was born soon after. Carol’s post also offers a story of how plenty of patience and freedom of movement kept a home birth safely at home.
Jen at Pursuing Harmony shares another simple story of birth at home, in which she followed her instincts to find the right positions and movements to help labor progress smoothly. Lauren Wayne at HoboMama shares a personal story of using movement to give birth to a nearly 12 pound baby vaginally with no drugs. Her story illustrates both how home birth offers optimal freedom of movement and how mobility can be maintained even when a planned home birth results in a transfer to the hospital. Sheridan at Enjoy Birth shares another personal experience, and also answers a common question, “can I still move around if I am using hypnosis in labor?”
The hospital bed can be a potent symbol to a laboring woman that she has no choice but to get into it. This summer, Henci Goer wrote a post here at Science & Sensibility about a pilot study showing that removing the labor bed from the hospital room entirely resulted in less use of oxytocin augmentation. But most women birth in environments with hospital beds, and some women need to stay in or near the bed for medical reasons, so Molly Remer brings us a fantastic handout,”How to Use a Hospital Bed Without Lying Down“. The Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator and student nurse-midwife at Hands for Catching points out, however, that the bed is not the only element of the conventional birth environment that keeps women from moving while Moms Tinfoil Hat shares a personal story that demonstrates that mobility is an all-too-common casualty of the cascade of interventions. All of these posts reinforce the relevance of Birth Territory, a new theory for labor care that emphasizes the role of the physical environment and individuals’ use of power in promoting optimal labor outcomes. Rixa Freeze introduced this theory in a recent post at Stand & Deliver. (Stay tuned, we’ll soon be featuring an interview with the researchers who developed the theory and a review of their book here on Science & Sensibility!)
And last but not least, the News Moms Need blog reminds us that moving our bodies offers health benefits in pregnancy and after giving birth, not just in labor. The blog also offers tips and guidelines for exercising safely while pregnant. Our bodies were made to move!