When given the freedom to move about in labor, many women find they are dancing to the beat of their own drummer. They sway, rock, walk, rotate their hips and move with the power of the contractions. What good does all this movement do? Why should women create a labor dance all their own? In early labor, the baby is usually high in the uterus. He may be turned to one side or the other, or even facing moms belly in a posterior position. As he moves down, he needs room to also rotate, so that once he is in the birth canal, his head is facing her back, slightly to the left or right of her spine. This is the optimal position for a baby to be born.
However, if mom is not allowed to move about in labor, due to hospital policies and restrictions, the baby's ability to rotate as he descends will be hindered. That is one of the ways that baby's get stuck in less than desrirable positions, necessitating the use of forceps, vacuum extractors or cesareans to help them be born.
How much more humane, loving, supportive to give women room to move about, to sit on a birth ball and rock, to kneel forward and sway, to pelvic rock, to "belly dance" as she rotates her hips, to walk, to lean into her partner from an upright position. She is doing the work of laboring the baby down, she is the one helping to fascilitate her baby's descent through the pelvis and into the birth canal.
In addition to the practical aspects of helping baby descend, it is empowering to her as she does the work herself, supported by her partner and loved ones.
When a woman is supported like that in labor, she emerges an empowered, strong woman. A confident woman who transitions into motherhood with grace and strength.