In this six-part series, we are sharing 10 tips for each of the Lamaze six Healthy Birth Practices that help guide women toward a safe and healthy birth. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are supported by research studies that examine the benefits and risks of maternity care practices. Learn more about each practice, including short, informative videos at Lamaze.com. To read the rest of the 60 tips, check out the other posts in this series.
10 Ways to Walk, Move Around and Change Positions Throughout Labor
1. Learn why walking, moving around, and changing positions throughout labor is important for you and your baby during labor.
2. Limit interventions, like epidural and routine IV fluids, both of which can restrict your ability to move during labor.
3. Bring a trusted friend, family member, your partner, or doula to serve as your birth support person who will be in charge of reminding you to change positions and offer suggestions for movement that keeps labor progressing, facilitates baby's positioning, or allows you to rest in between contractions.
4. Find a care provider who supports evidence-based practices for a healthy birth, including remaining mobile during labor.
5. Make sure your place of birth is one that encourages women to move around and change positions during labor.
6. Request intermittent fetal monitoring (usually 20 minutes out of every hour) instead of continuous fetal monitoring, which is more restrictive for movement and has been shown to increase the risk of more interventions.
7. Labor as long as possible at home, where you are free to move around as much as you like.
8. If you need to have an epidural, ask your care provider and anesthesiologist about having a lower dose epidural to be able to move and change positions easily, and possibly get up and walk short distances (though many hospitals do not permit this).
9. If you must be monitored continuously or hooked up to an IV (like you would during an induction), you can still get out of the bed! Enlist the help of your support person(s) to help you move around with wires in tow.
10. Familiarize yourself with the many different labor positions you can use to help promote comfort and facilitate labor and birth.