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  • Amanda Sharp

Epidural Labor Positions

Despite the myth of the "walking epidural", the truth is that most women who get an epidural will end up laboring while lying down or fully supported for the entirety of their birth. Some people see this position as inherently negative and believe that it should be avoided at all costs. While it's true that the pelvic inlet tends to be more closed in a supine position, there are measures that you and your doula can take to encourage progress to continue in a productive way.


Peanut Ball

The peanut ball is exactly what it sounds like, a ball that is shaped like a peanut! It does an amazing job at opening the pelvis while mom rests in a SIMS position, side lying, or on her back. Switch sides every 10-30 minutes, depending on what feels right.


High Fowler's or Semi-Fowler's

The High Fowler's position is another fully supported position that can be utilized by exhausted or anesthetized mothers. To get this most out of this position, you can show your birth team an image and they can help you move the hospital bed in the way pictured below. Make sure you feel supported and aren't in danger of falling. Pictured below is an example of High Fowler's, where the mother's abdomen and legs create a 90 degree angle. A Semi Fowlers position would be more at a 30-45 degree angle.


Assisted Leg Lift

An assisted leg lift while side-lying is another great position for lying down. Keep the bottom leg straight out while the other bends at a 90 degree angle and is fully supported by your doula, birth partner or hospital bed stirrup. This position facilitates the opening of the pelvis which can help babies head descend and engage into the birth canal. With this position, unless you are pushing, you will want to switch sides every 10-30 minutes to ensure that babies descent is not asymmetrical.


Women who choose to birth with an epidural often feel that they wouldn't benefit from the help of a Doula during birth. I find the opposite to be true! It's easy to fall on the conveyer belt in the L&D unit when they've seen 10 births just like yours that day. A doula is there by your side the entire time to provide customized and one-on-one coaching and support, something that you won't receive from anyone else in the hospital. Hire a doula for your epidural birth today!

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