What to Know:
- Research shows that restricting movement reduces the effectiveness of contractions, prolongs labor, and increases Pitocin use.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages freedom of position and movement and discourages the supine (back-lying) position during labor.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages women to change position often.
You’ll need to stay in bed or have help moving if:
- You’re having preterm labor.
- You have severe pregnancy-induced hypertension.
- You have epidural or spinal medication.
- You have narcotic medication through an IV.
How to Avoid Unnecessary Use:
- Discuss movement with your caregiver.
- Find out if your birth site restricts walking and movement during labor.
- Consider changing your birth site if it will restrict your movement.
- Labor at home as long as possible, walking and moving freely.
- Have a doula or other support person.
- Remember that walking, moving, and changing positions help your labor progress.
How to Keep Labor as Normal as Possible if Your Movement is Restricted:
- Labor at home as long as possible, walking, moving, and changing positions freely.
- Change positions often in bed:
- Move from side to side.
- Sit on the side of the bed.
- Kneel while leaning your head and shoulders against the raised head of the bed.
- Lie in different directions; for example, move your head to the foot of the bed.
- Squat while supported.
- Remember that the more you move, the more efficient your contractions will be.