Yoga positions for labour and birth

When you think about birth, what do you imagine?


I’m betting you imagine something similar to what you’ve seen in movie and tv shows. A woman on her back in a bed, propped up slightly with someone on either side of her telling her to puuuuuuussssshhhhh while she screams, visibly tenses and goes red in the face.


Basically the OPPOSITE of everything you want to do to encourage a smoother, faster birth.


In today’s video I’m sharing the best yoga poses you can use during birth to help it move along more smoothly. I’m also talking about why lying on your back is not the best position to be in, especially if you have long drawn out labours.


Remember though every woman and every birth is different. You may think you’re going to like getting in the water, but find out that actually you prefer to be squatting when the time comes. It’s great to know a few different options that will help you to work with your body so that you can be free to move around once you’re in the thick of labour.


These are the poses I recommend for labour and birth – though remember there is no ‘right’ way – you just have to find what works for you.  If you prefer to watch the video, I’ve popped it at the end of this post.


  1. Goddess Squat

Squatting is a very natural position to birth in and helps your body do what it is trying to do. It opens up the pelvis and allows gravity to naturally work baby down.

2. Wall Squat

Squatting against a wall can feel good as you press the low back into the wall for support. You could also ask your partner to stand behind you and support your body weight or massage your back in this position.

3. Low squat

While squatting is a great position to birth in, it is also very tiring on the legs.  A low squat where you support the bottom on a cushion, step, rolled up blanket or if you’re at the hospital a birthing stool can help to give you the benefits of squatting without tiring out the legs.

4. Hands and knees (tabletop) or hands and elbows

Coming onto hands and knees can be a very instinctual position to birth in (at least it was for me).  It’s a great birth position to use gravity without putting too much pressure downwards. This position also allows you to rock and sway the hips which can help with the intensity of contractions. It’s also an easy move from here to child’s pose or side lying to rest between contractions.


5. Child’s pose

This pose is literally the best to rest in between contractions. Make sure you keep the knees wide to make space for the belly and it helps to have cushions or pillows underneath your chest for extra comfort.


6. Side lying

In the earlier stages of labour you might light to use side lying to rest between contractions. The pelvis area is still open and encouraging labour to progress in this position, while also giving you a comfortable position to rest in.


So that’s it. If you’ve birthed before, I’d love to know which position you preferred. Was it instinctual or did someone tell you to move in this way?


My first experience of birth wasn’t the greatest, but my second and third were the most empowering experiences of my life. I share all the tools that helped me in my birth education course ‘Yoga Wisdom for birth’. It includes everything you need to educate yourself on how your body works and know how to work with it and the medical system. You can access the whole course via my Online Yoga Circle with a free 30 day trial. The Online Yoga Circle is also full of yoga classes for all stages of pregnancy.

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