Different Positions for Pushing

It’s Time to Push:  Different positions for pushing

When you finally get to that 10 cm mark and you are told you can push- it feels so GOOD!! You can use those contractions and with every push you are one step closer to seeing your little one for the first time. The trick to pushing is to curl around your belly like you are doing a sit up… I know you are probably thinking SIT UPS??? What?! Seems impossible as you can barely put on our own socks by the end of pregnancy!!! But this curling motion helps get your baby under the pelvic bone which is the hardest part of pushing.

Surprisingly, there are lots of different positions for pushing not just your feet up in the stirrups that you see on movies. Here some different options for pushing when that time comes!

Upright positions

Gravity can be your friend when it comes to delivering your baby and there are a few positions that you might find comfortable. Squatting, Birthing stool, and Kneeling are some upright positions that you can try keeping in mind that changing up positions is good for both you and baby.


I know….squatting is not one that you think is even possible when you get to the end of your pregnancy based on the fact that it takes you a minute or two to pick up something off the floor, but there a few different ways to “squat” during pushing that might work great for you. Squatting helps open the pelvic outlet to its maximum width, takes advantage of gravity and helps baby rotate into position.

Birthing Bar (Squat)

This is a great tool that connects to the bed and you drape your arms over it.  The foot of your bed will drop down so you can just rest your bum on the edge of the bed with your feet lower down on the bed and use the bar to pull yourself into a squatting position while pushing.  This is a great resting position between contractions.

Support Squat

 Have your partner stand in front of you facing you. Holding on to your partner’s hands you can sit down into a squat using your partner as leverage so it is easier to hold that position.


The Kneeling position can be done with either your arms draped over the head of the bed (that is elevated) or kneeling over a ball. During the contractions you will flex your hips and lower your bum towards the bed as you push.  Between your contractions you can drape yourself on the head of the bed or ball and rest. Kneeling is a great one to help mama’s that are having a lot of back pain during labor.

Birthing stool

This U shaped stool is a great pushing tool while using gravity during pushing.  Your partner can also stand or kneel behind you so that you can lean back against them between contractions.

Hands and knees

This position works great for opening up the pelvis.  It also takes pressure off the spine and can easy back pain. You may find that you have to switch up your position if your arms get tired.  If you have an epidural you may or may not be able to sustain this position depending on your leg strength.

Birth pool

Check with your care provider to see if this is an option. It is based on availability. There are circumstances when the birth pool are not used such as if baby needs external fetal monitoring or if you have an epidural.


Recumbent or non upright positions

Side lying, Semi sitting or lying down, although don’t have gravity working for you, are commonly used. They provide good rest between contractions and are often used if additional fetal monitoring is needed or if you have an epidural and your leg strength is weaker. They are the easiest positions for the Doctor, Midwife or Nurse to visualize your baby.

Side lying

Is a good resting position but can also be a great pushing position!! It is gravity neutral and helps to slow a rapid delivery. It can also help reduce tearing as it takes pressure off your perineum.  Your nurse or your partner will help lift your upper leg during pushing while you curve your upper body around that beautiful baby bump.

Semi sitting

Lying on your back with the head of the bed elevated.  During contractions you will curve your back in a sit up position while pushing. Your nurse and partner often will lift or hold your legs during the contraction. Nurses or midwives may drape a sheet or towel around a birthing bar and get you to use it to pull yourself into that sit up position during pushing.  

Lithotomy position

Is when you are lying on your back with your hips and knees flexed with your legs supported on stirrups.  This used to be a common pushing position but hospitals and health practitioners are moving away from using this position.

The key to pushing positions is finding one that works for both you and baby!!! Changing up your positions can be good and different pushing positions have different benefits for you both. If you find a pushing position that is working really well you may be encouraged to keep going with it. Your nurse or midwife are there to suggest and help you with these different positions.  Just remember each contraction is your body working to get you one step closer to meeting your beautiful baby.

You Got this Mama!!

If you are looking for a prenatal class and support before baby comes, the Mama Coach offers an in Home Private Prenatal Class that is tailored to YOUR needs.  Imagine sitting on your couch, with the ability to ask anything you want without feeling uncomfortable in front of a large group.

This 3-4 hour class is perfect for couples who are busy and unable to go every week for birth class. We will walk you through everything from the end of your pregnancy, when to go to the hospital, birth, and bringing your baby home. If you are interested in more information or want to book a class, click here to find a Mama Coach.

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