Delivery Positions

When it comes time to deliver your baby, you have options in the positioning of your body to help relieve pain and discomfort. These delivery positions include sitting, being upright, squatting, side-lying, hands and knees or lying on your back. No one way is better than any other; it really depends on what’s comfortable for you.

On Your Back

If you choose to deliver lying on your back, you may want to consider using pillows to prop yourself up slightly. This is because the uterus can press against the vena cava blood vessel, which decreases the placenta’s blood supply and pushes against your diaphragm, making it hard for you to breathe. It’s also important to note that this delivery position is only used because it provides your doctor with easy access to the vagina.


This position is great for maintaining comfort during longer labors. It’s also a great way to push the baby out. Your birthing companion can hold your upper leg to widen the pelvic and support the weight of the baby. This takes the pressure off the perineum and keeps the weight of the uterus off of the vena cava blood vessel, allowing an unimpeded supply of blood to your uterus and baby.

Hands and Knees

This is a great delivery position to be in if you need to decrease your back pain. It’s also a great for repositioning babies who’ve gotten turned around. There are two variations on this position—the “crawl” (on hands and knees, back flat) or the “full moon” (head and shoulders lower to the ground). Many doctors recommend this position if the baby is larger, or if there are other complications. However, if you’ve received an epidural, you will have difficulty staying in this position, as your legs will not be strong enough to hold you up.


This position is great for allowing the baby to move into the birth canal without any effort as it opens the pelvis wide. You can use a bed with a squatting bar or enlist the help of a birth companion to assume the position. This is recommended for the pushing phase of birth.


Sitting delivery positions are great for combining gravity with relaxation. Your weight is supported without putting pressure on the perineum, and it allows you to rest. You can use a birth ball, rocking or toilet for sitting. Upright delivery positions are great for early labor.

This page was last updated on 06/2017

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