People have a variety of opinions on the ideal position from which to give birth. In the United States, and other developed nations, women often are automatically placed in a semi-reclined position during labor and delivery. But is this practice outdated? Does is go against the basic mechanics of the female reproductive system? Are we causing harm by putting the convenience of the birth attendant ahead of the woman? Some say yes.
The complications from childbirth can range from mild to severe, with severe tearing of the vagina and perineum, up to critical obstetric emergencies like postpartum hemorrhage. The reasons why the lure of the lithotomy seemed ideal in the 1950’s now should give us all pause. Let’s look at some of the more obvious contraindications for the semi-recumbent position:
The semi-recumbent position means that not only do women NOT utilize gravity and use the baby's own weight to help it move down, but it actually makes the mother work against gravity in order to push the baby out.
The major vessels leading to the uterus can be compressed, restricting blood flow to the baby
Historically, women in labor delivered their babies in squatting, supported squatting, kneeling and even standing positions.
One group's efforts indicate it’s time to push back against pushing during childbirth.
With the support of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Royal College of Midwives’ implemented a trial program at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent. By simply not pressuring women to lie on their backs and “push,” the hospital reduced the number of third and fourth-degree perineal tears from 7 percent to 1 percent, an 85 percent reduction. Dot Smith, the hospital’s head of midwifery, blames the high number of tears on the misconception that women in labor need to “push, push and then push harder.”
We’d love to hear your experiences from the field. Have you encouraged women in your care to adopt a more natural childbirth position? Let us know!
Identification of anemia in pregnant women is important, since it is an important cause of multiple complications during pregnancy (preterm delivery, low birth weight and perinatal death), so it is recommended to all pregnant women, in the first prenatal visit and at 28 weeks of gestation, the measurement of serum concentrations of hemoglobin and hematocrit as a screening test for anemia.
Prenatal assessment seeks to identify, through clinical history, sociodemographic characteristics, mean blood pressure, Doppler of the uterine arteries and biochemical markers such as pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) and placental growth factor (PlGF), those women who are at high risk of developing preeclampsia in order to take appropriate measures. that can help reduce that risk.