The Role of Midwives' Influence on Birthing Positions
Depending on evidence, experience, knowledge and the needs of mothers, midwives play a crucial role in influencing pregnancy positions.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful life experiences for mothers and their families. Childbirth can impact short and long-term effects on a mother's health and her child's wellbeing. The quality of midwives' care determines whether these effects are positive or negative.
Expecting mothers wish to experience positive childbirth in a conductive, reliable, clean, and safe environment. This can be achieved by having competent, skilled, and compassionate midwives to support them during delivery.
Birthing positions that are selected by midwives can have a positive impact on childbirth. Keeping the aorta upright, for example, is less risky and prevents compression. It is recommended by many studies that women stay upright during pregnancy to prevent aorta compression and ensure oxygen flow to the fetus. This position can also facilitate uterine contractions, allowing the baby to get into a better position during delivery. Midwives have years of experience and evidence-based knowledge to help mothers choose the best position for delivery.
The Role of Midwives
There are many birthing positions, including rocking, swaying, lunging, squatting, upright, kneeling, supine, and on-hand-and-knees.
However, the supine position is universally known and practised by mothers and health professionals globally. Studies have shown that while the upright position is beneficial to the mother and child, health professionals including midwives often encouraged the supine position because it is the best-known birthing position. Additionally, most mothers believe midwives provide comprehensive support during labor and a smooth delivery without complications. Therefore, mothers would deliver their baby in the supine position with the assumption that this was the best given condition for her and her baby. An empowered midwife enhances a woman's self-confidence and improves her autonomy during childbirth. Therefore, midwives must provide impartial, evidence-based information to mothers to optimize delivery.
The goal of a midwife is to minimize labor complications during childbirth and reduce interventions. Investing in quality equipment allows midwives to perform non-supine births in hospitals and childbirth centers. Using high-fidelity manikins with advanced features or VR training sessions can also provide midwives with information about birthing positions and help prevent errors during childbirth.
In pregnancy, a woman can choose her birthing position, but she should get evidence-based advice from her midwives and follow their recommendations. Most studies suggest that mothers trust their midwives during labor and follow their advice to minimize complications. Therefore, it is essential that midwives are well-trained, confident and knowledgeable and understand the misperceptions of the supine and non-supine positions.