- 25% less likely to have a forceps or vacuum-assisted birth
- 25% less likely to have an episiotomy
- 54% less likely to have abnormal fetal heart rate patterns
- 20% more likely to have a second-degree tear; the absolute risk was 15.3% for people in upright positions vs. 12.7% for those in supine positions
- 48% more likely to have estimated blood loss greater than 500 mL; the absolute risk was 6.5% for people in upright positions vs. 4.4% for those in supine positions
- 3 out of 4 of the studies measured pain and found that upright positions decreased pain rating during pushing phase as well.
This all makes so much sense when you understand the anatomy and physiology of the birthing pelvis. Freedom to move, freedom for the pelvis to expand, and ability of the pelvic floor muscles to gradually stretch as baby emerges – all possible when you assume upright positions for birth.
Check out this in depth article from Evidence Based Birth for even more details about birth positions. The whole website is fantastic and highly recommended.