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Peru embraces vertical births to save lives

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Peru embraces vertical births to save lives

Standing or sitting during childbirth also tends to reduce labor and delivery time, according to the Peruvian health ministry, and allows the mother to watch the birth better than if she were lying down.

"Western science is unaware of the priorities and needs of women, particularly rural women, who consider childbirth a natural event and do not think changes to the traditional vertical delivery are needed," the ministry said in a small book extolling the benefits of standing during childbirth.

The practice of women giving birth on their backs is done for the convenience of doctors, not women, say supporters of Andean birthing methods.

Wonder if we can get a copy of that small book sent to british hospitals, so they stop insisting on making women lie on their backs to give birth!! hmm

juuule Wed 16-Jul-08 21:10:30

Well done, the Andean women.

expatinscotland Wed 16-Jul-08 21:16:08

My dad's mother was Mayan.

She gave birth to all six of hers squatting.

She was flabbergasted to hear Western women were trying to give birth on their backs with their legs up in stirrups.

She never could see the sense in that.

allgonebellyup Wed 16-Jul-08 21:22:05

When i was about to have ds i swore i would give birth to him squatting, as it seemed the most natural way........

but when it came to it, i was in absolute AGONY squatting, it felt like i was being stabbed with a knife!
So resorted to climbing back onto the bed..blush

I think the bottom line is, you should have the choice to give birth the way which feels right at the time, not be bullied into the position which is easiest for midwives to keep stuffing their hand up you at eye level.

Habbibu Wed 16-Jul-08 21:29:34

Me too, allgonebellyup - turns out I have jelly for legs. And I do feel stupidly embarrassed by it on MN, which is just ridiculous - labour was fine, no pain relief (bloody hurt, but copable) and no intervention. JATGB is right - there should be the option, as I did have (just didn't manage to make the most of it!)

expatinscotland Wed 16-Jul-08 21:31:16

i gave birth to Dd2 on my knees with my upper body and arms turned towards and hugging the top of the bed, which had been raised up to sitting position.

REALLY worked for me! legs were supported but my body felt best like that and best of all i didn't tear along my giant episiotomy scar from Dd1's forceps delivery.

Habbibu Wed 16-Jul-08 21:34:05

Expat, my jelly legs wobbled uncontrollably even in that position! I had a lie down for a bit of a rest and could NOT get back up again. Luckily consultant decided I didn't need forceps, and dd came out fairly easily in the end.

puffylovett Wed 16-Jul-08 21:34:37

I totally agree. I spent my entire labour either sitting on my ball or standing and swaying. When it came to delivery, the midwife insisted I get on the bed so she could have a firkle and when I couldn't push on all fours, she insisted a sit down.
As a result I tore more than I would have done if I'd just been allowed to stay on my feet, I think.

Next time I'm doing it at home, I don't care how overdue I go !!

GreenMonkies Wed 16-Jul-08 21:36:35

I also found squatting uncomfortable, for me the best position was kneeling and leaning on a birthing ball.

JATGB is right, you should be encouraged to find the position that works best for you, not the one that makes things easy for the MW/Dr.


2shoes Wed 16-Jul-08 21:37:53

had to lol
second time roud I knelt. lying on your back makes things take so much longer.

wessexgirl Wed 16-Jul-08 21:40:54

I had no idea that it was unusual to be 'allowed' to give birth standing/in a vertical position <blissfully ignorant emoticon>.

I literally dropped both of mine (midwife caught 'em) - squatting and lolling on a ball. If anyone had suggested I lie on a bed I might well have killed them; there was no other (relatively) comfortable position for me. My position for dd2 was pretty much exactly what expat just described.

Bronze Fri 18-Jul-08 17:55:12

Another who knelt on the bed holding onto the end that was tilted right up. My legs were jelly too.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jul-08 17:58:31

I spent ages standing/squatting in complete angony before the midwife gently suggested I might be happier lying on my side. And she was right. Everything speeded right up and it was more, is comfortable the right word? Anyway - I tend to feel my contractions in my thighs for some reason, and vertical birthing is not for me...

WinkyWinkola Fri 18-Jul-08 19:40:02

Just important to give birth in the position that feels right for the labouring woman, vertical or not.

sabire Fri 18-Jul-08 21:11:39

I just find it hard to imagine that giving birth sitting on their bums, lying flat on their backs, or on their backs with legs in stirrups FEELS right to the 82% of women at our local hospital who give birth in these positions. shock

GreenMonkies Sat 19-Jul-08 12:39:00


I doubt it too, although I'm guessing a large number of them have had epidurals, so can FEEL nothing any way. hmm

Until all staff are clued-up on the value of upright birthing (MW's and Drs) and women are no longer automatically told to lie down this will continue. It doesn't help that when ever you see childbirth on the tv (be it a soap or a film) that the mother is always in stirrups or sitting/reclining, as this cements the concept that this is how it is done.


Flamesparrow Sat 19-Jul-08 12:41:20

DD was in a weirdy sitting position in water.

DS was on all fours.

I went in stirrups the other day and was stunned that people manage to give birth in them!

FrannyandZooey Sat 19-Jul-08 12:48:52

I laboured almost completely standing up this time
I was knackered and would have loved to lie down but the increase in pain when I tried any other position was unbearable - and when a contraction caught me when I was lying down for the midwife to examine me, it was GRIM
they made me get on all fours at the end so i could push and have a rest - I wanted to go on standing up!

mind you I feel completely beaten up today (ds2 is 1 day old) and as if I have done about 3000 sit ups

twelveyeargap Sat 19-Jul-08 12:49:25

I suspect (and this is a generalisation, yes) that Andean women spend a lot more time being physically active than most of us. Working on the land, doing everything by hand, walking a lot and so on. That would explain why squatting comes easier to them than us - stronger legs and back. I expect there are fewer OP babies too, as they'll be spending less time sitting in front of computers with their pelvises tilted up.

However, any kind of vertical birth - be it with mother kneeling or leaning on something will always mean that gravity helps the baby out. As already said, once women are given the choice to birth however it feels comfortable and with helpful suggestions from midwives on which positions might be more comfortable, or useful to help turn a badly positioned baby, that's the main thing.

belgo Sat 19-Jul-08 12:54:35

I laboured on all fours with dd1, for the whole 13 hours. No way could I bear any other position. They wouldn't let me give birth on all fours though, insisting I lay on my back, but I refused, and somehow they got me into a side position.

My elbows and knees were swollen for a few days afterwards.

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