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Relieving Labor Pain Naturally and Positions That Work

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by | 8 views
by Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS


Many people don’t realize it, but the right labor position can minimize the trauma and help prevent injuries such as hip separation, low back trauma, and tailbone pain. As a physical therapist specializing in women’s health, I deal with trauma and injury from labor and delivery on a day-to-day basis. I see women struggling to take care of their children because of the pain that they still have, months after the delivery of their babies. I treat women suffering from postpartum perineal tears, which are tears that occur in the area between the vagina and rectum, severe back pain, abdominal separation and disc herniation, displaced bones, organ prolapses and many other conditions. This pain may or may have not been present during the pregnancy, but the labor process has either brought it to the surface or has created a new injury.

How to Choose the Best Labor Position

Physical therapists are uniquely equipped to make recommendations for birthing. We understand the pelvic floor muscles, the abdominal muscles and what positions pose a threat to the body.  I  developed a chart (see below) to outline different birth positions along with recommendations for how to avoid exacerbating an old injury and to prevent a new injury from occurring. Go to this link to download the full commentary and chart: You can share it with your doctor or midwife to determine which birth position will help you prevent a perineal tear or if have a pre-existing low-back disk bulge or herniation.


These recommendations are mostly upright labor positions that use gravity to get the baby out and maintain the spine in optimal alignment. There are some positions that are considered to be safer than others.  For example, the side-lying position is the go-to position if you have a preexisting condition such as hipbone separation. I highlight the side-lying position because I find this position to be the easiest on the pregnant woman’s body. Practice the different positions with your birth partner before the big day so that everyone is well versed on how to do them.

Ending Pain in Pregnancy also has more information on birth positions.  For more information on optimal labor positions and TENS therapy for natural pain relief, look at Ending Pain In Pregnancy, the ultimate book of empowerment, or visit


About the Author: Isa Herrera, MSPT, is a physiotherapist and clinical director at Renew Physical Therapy Center in New York City, where she specializes in pre- and post-natal care and pelvic floor issues.  Her new book, “Ending Pain in Pregnancy” helps women stay strong and pain free while preparing and recovering from labor and delivery.

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