Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Position in the second stage of labour for women without epidural anaesthesia

Gupta JK, Hofmeyr GJ, Shehmar M
Published Online: 
16 May 2012

Women should be encouraged to give birth in comfortable positions, which are usually upright.

In traditional cultures, women naturally give birth in upright positions like kneeling, standing or squatting. In Western societies, doctors have influenced women to give birth on their backs, sometimes with their legs up in stirrups. This review included 22 studies (involving 7280 women). The review of trials found the studies were not of good quality, but they showed that when women gave birth on their backs there was more chance for an assisted delivery, e.g. forceps, there was a higher chance of requiring cuts to the birth outlet, but there was less blood loss. More research is needed.