The cesarean rate in the United States has been over 30% for a number of years, with the primary reason cited as “failure to progress.” A similar diagnosis of CPD, or cephalopelvic disproportion, often accompanies a diagnosis of failure to progress. As a result, many women are lead to believe that they are simply unable to give birth vaginally as the result of a pelvis that is too small to accommodate a baby. This conclusion not only results in a primary cesarean, but often a belief that all future births will require surgery as well.
Researchers in Germany set out to see if pregnancy and/or simply changing positions makes a difference in the amount of space in a woman’s pelvis. The results of this research were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG). The answer was a resounding YES, and the difference is significant.
In both pregnant and non-pregnant women, assuming a kneeling squat position increased the space in the pelvis by up to 15% over a supine (back lying) position. This finding, along with those in dozens of other research studies looking at positions for birth, are substantial. Being upright, rather than reclined, can make more room for baby.
Despite the many advantages to squatting or upright positions for birth, most women in the United States give birth lying on their backs. Parents need to understand that a simple change in position can create more room for baby to maneuver and may even shorten the length of time pushing. Of course, we don’t know for sure if this would decrease the incidents of CPD, which may, in turn, help lower the cesarean rate, but common sense tell us it could make a difference. Share one of these images if you agree!
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