Being able to move around and use different positions may help you cope with the contractions as they become stronger and more regular. Staying active will also help your baby to move down the birth passage more easily in preparation for birth, and help progress labour.

Here are some of the other benefits of keeping active during labour:

  • there is less pressure on the blood vessels that supply the womb with oxygen for your baby
  • when you are upright, your pelvis can open wider and make more room for your baby to come through
  • staying active may help contractions to work better
  • active positions may help you feel more comfortable and experience less pain
  • in the second stage of labour, moving about may help you to be able to push more effectively.

Equipment such as birth balls, mats, and rocking chairs are available in the birth centres and delivery suites and these can help you adopt a variety of good positions for labour.

Listen to your own body and move into a position that is most comfortable for you. This may change throughout labour. Your midwife will also be able to advise you on positions to try.

If you do need to lie down, you may find it helpful to try relaxing on your left side, with a large pillow between your knees. It is also possible to give birth in this position.

This leaflet from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust shows you the different birth positions that may help you in labour.