Lying on your side

Lying on your side

You may want to rest in labour and you should if you feel like it. You can lie down, this is just better if its on your side.


Why do you think that this is better than lying on your back if we are thinking about the position of your pelvis in labour and birth?

  • The sacrum and coccyx are still able to move out of the way.
  • You may help to ease pressure on your back which can reduce discomfort.
  • You are able to lift your leg or have a birth partner support your leg during the tightenings that are helping to move baby through the birth canal.

Here you can see a woman lying on her side, one of her legs is being supported. You can see now how the pelvis is open and how the baby is still able to work with gravity. This is because the baby is not having to move upwards, like in a semi-recumbent position, but continues to move down the birth canal.

TIP – If you are in a hospital and they have leg supports on the bed, you can use one of the leg supports, to help rest your leg into, but do take it out of it sometimes between tightenings.  To help your mind feel more relaxed about using the leg rests, why not cover it with a towel or blanket so it looks less threatening. We will look at hormones of labour and birth soon.

You can even use a birthing ball to rest your leg on, by placing the ball behind the leg that is rested on the firm surface, and either raising your leg on to it or asking your birth partner to help you. A birthing ball is softer so it won’t cause discomfort to your skin.

If you did have an epidural, perhaps you can use the birthing ball/ small ball or cushions under you knee to help your baby move through the birth canal as you lie on your side when giving birth to your baby.