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Positioning & Movement

Different positions during labor can ease discomfort and help your baby get into the right position for delivery. You probably won’t know which positions will work best for you until you’re in labor, so it’s a good idea to know options in advance. Everyone’s labor is different, so there’s no one position that works for everyone every time. Even if you’ve had a child before, you may find that what worked for you last time won’t work this time.

Some of the positions that often help are:

  • squatting
  • sitting on a balance ball
  • sitting in the “Tailor sit” position (sitting on the floor with knees bent and ankles crossed)
  • getting on your hands and knees
  • lying on either side
  • standing
  • sitting in a chair
  • sitting on the toilet

Most women do not find lying on their backs comfortable, and health care providers don’t normally recommend it because it puts pressure on the vena cava, which can reduce oxygenation throughout your body and to your baby.

A childbirth educator will likely talk about positioning, and other moms may be a good resource as well. If you decide to hire a doula, she will be able to help you find positions that work best for you. Your labor and delivery nurse will also be able to help you find the positions that are right for you.


Moving during labor can be very helpful in coping with pain and in advancing the labor process. Ask your health care provider whether it’s okay for you to walk around the hospital while you’re in labor. You may also find that moving either side-to-side or front-to-back while in one position, like on your hands and knees, can help too. Rocking, slow dancing, yoga (in certain positions), stretching, walking, and moving on a balance ball (or birth ball) can all help keep you moving and keep your labor moving along.

If your condition requires continuous fetal monitoring, movement may still be an option with the use of Beaumont’s wireless fetal monitoring system.