NYTimes article II
Childbirth: Position of Woman’s Body Could Ease Delivery
By ERIC NAGOURNEY
Published: October 16, 2007
Women who go onto their hands and knees while in labor may be able to reduce the pain of childbirth, researchers say.
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Midwives often recommend the position in the belief that it makes deliveries less painful and — by encouraging the baby to shift into the best position — faster.
The researchers, writing in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, said there was good evidence for the first proposition, but not for the second.
The study also found no support for the recommendation that toward the end of pregnancy, women go onto their hands and knees for 10 minutes, twice a day, to help the baby get into position.
“This is not to suggest that women should not adopt this position if they find it comfortable,” the researchers write.
The study is based on a review of earlier research into how the mother’s position affects delivery. The researchers focused on three studies, two looking at women in labor and one looking at women late in pregnancy. In all, more than 2,700 women were involved in the studies.
The best position for a baby during delivery is head down, with the back of the head facing forward. When the back of the head is toward the mother’s side or back, the delivery may be longer or more painful.
The study found that the women who went onto their hands and knees during delivery felt better. “The use of this position during labor was associated with a significant reduction in persistent back pain,” the researchers wrote. “Women may therefore be encouraged to use this position for comfort in labor.”
But while there was some evidence in one study that the position helped their babies shift into the right position, more research is needed, the reseachers said.