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J Perinat Educ. 2004 Spring;13(2):30-4.

#5: Non-Supine (e.g., Upright or Side-Lying) Positions for Birth.

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  • 1L eah A lbers is professor at the University of New Mexico, College of Nursing, and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American Academy of Nursing.


In this position paper-one of six care practice papers published by Lamaze International and reprinted here with permission-the benefit of non-supine positions for birth is discussed and presented as an evidence-based practice that helps promote, protect, and support normal birth. The paper is written for childbearing women and their families. Upright and gravity-neutral positions facilitate rotation and descent of the baby and result in reduced duration of second stage, a reduction in episiotomies, and fewer abnormal fetal heart rate patterns. The accompanying commentary-written by a leading proponent of maternity care-supports these benefits. Lamaze International recommends that laboring women not push until they feel an urge to do so, and that they choose positions for birth that are most comfortable for them.

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