Women's choice of positions during labour: return to the past or a modern way to give birth? A cohort study in Italy

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:638093. doi: 10.1155/2014/638093. Epub 2014 May 15.

Abstract

Background: Childbirth medicalization has reduced the parturient's opportunity to labour and deliver in a spontaneous position, constricting her to assume the recumbent one. The aim of the study was to compare recumbent and alternative positions in terms of labour process, type of delivery, neonatal wellbeing, and intrapartum fetal head rotation.

Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study on women at pregnancy term. Primiparous women with physiological pregnancies and single cephalic fetuses were eligible for the study. We considered data about maternal-general characteristics, labour process, type of delivery, and neonatal wellbeing at birth. Patients were divided into two groups: Group-A if they spent more than 50% of labour in a recumbent position and Group-B when in alternative ones.

Results: 225 women were recruited (69 in Group-A and 156 in Group-B). We found significant differences between the groups in terms of labour length, Numeric Rating Scale score and analgesia request rate, type of delivery, need of episiotomy, and fetal occiput rotation. No differences were found in terms of neonatal outcomes.

Conclusion: Alternative maternal positioning may positively influence labour process reducing maternal pain, operative vaginal delivery, caesarean section, and episiotomy rate. Women should be encouraged to move and deliver in the most comfortable position.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Parturition / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pregnancy