Movement Restrictions

Movement Restrictions

What to Know about Movement Restrictions

  • Research shows that restricting movement reduces the effectiveness of contractions, prolongs labor and increases Pitocin use.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages freedom of position and movement and discourages the supine (back-lying) position during labor.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages you to change positions often during labor.

You’ll Need to Stay in Bed or Have Help Moving If:

  • You’re having preterm labor.
  • You have severe pregnancy-induced hypertension.
  • You have epidural or spinal medication.
  • You have narcotic medication through an IV.

How to Avoid Unnecessary Restricted Movement

  • Discuss movement and various labor positions with your caregiver.
  • Find out if your birth site restricts walking and movement during labor.
  • Consider changing your birth site if it will restrict your movement while you labor.
  • Labor at home as long as possible, walking and moving freely.
  • Have a doula or other support person.
  • Remember that walking, moving and changing positions help your labor progress.

How to Keep Labor as Safe and Healthy as Possible if Your Movement is Restricted

  • Labor at home as long as possible, walking, moving and changing positions freely.
  • Change positions often in bed:
    • Move from side to side.
    • Sit on the side of the bed.
    • Kneel while leaning your head and shoulders against the raised head of the bed.
    • Lie in different directions; for example, move your head to the foot of the bed.
    • Squat while supported.
    • Remember that the more you move, the more efficient your contractions will be.

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