Active Labor: 10 Positions Changes You Should Practice and Use


You've heard that you should get active in active labor, and change positions often. But what does that mean? If you haven't been in labor before (or even if you have!), it's sometimes hard to remember what to do in the moment. I've broken it down here, to make it easy. Here are 10 positions you can get into to keep labor progressing.

Doulas are a great tool during labor, because we have an internal collection of position changes and other ideas to keep labor progressing and to keep you comfortable, as well. It's what we're trained to do!

If you don't have a doula on your team, it's not too late to hire one. Meanwhile, check out these tips and practice them with your birth partner. You are much more likely to use these tips if you take the time to practice and really picture yourself using them. The time to practice is now. A rule of thumb is to change your position every 20-30 minutes. In labor, we have a habit of finding one position that "feels better" and we like to hang out there, because let's face it, hanging out in a painful position is pretty counter-intuitive! But we need to find a balance between a position of rest, and a position that's going to help your contractions progress. Those harder contractions are the ones that bring your baby here! Need a refresher on pain coping strategies? Check out my blog post 10 Simple Tips For an Easier Labor.

10 position changes you should try in active labor:

1. Side-lying Release There's a reason this is first on my list. Everyone can benefit from a side-lying release to help balance the body. You'll need to know what you're doing though, so check out the link on spinningbabies.com. It requires a spotter to keep your hips stacked and your shoulders stacked, to allow the psoas muscle to release and relax, which is paramount in labor's progress.

2. Easy lunges, both sides To do this, have a stable chair on hand. Hold your partners hand and face both of your feet directly forward. Put your left leg up on the chair for your lunge so your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Hang out there for the duration of three contractions, and rest in between. Repeat on the right side. You'll likely find that one side feels tighter or way more uncomfortable than the other. Feel that imbalance? That's what the lunges are working to alleviate. Read more about balancing the body for a smoother labor at