Powerful Labor Strategy: Avoid the Bed

labor strategy

September 10, 2022

You'll Love This Labor Strategy

There is a little secret about the hospital bed and that is that it can be a real enemy of labor. This probably comes as a surprise because the hospital bed is featured prominently in our labor and delivery rooms. In the United States and Canada, the hospital bed is the star of the room. When we see pictures and watch movies about birth it usually takes place in a hospital bed.  This isn’t how it is in all countries. In Germany and the Netherlands sometimes we'll see the hospital beds pushed up against the wall.

Contractions feel worse when you are in bed

When you are lying down in a hospital bed or sitting up semi-reclined in a hospital bed and you experience contractions they are often more painful than you would feel them if you were standing up or sitting on a birth ball or walking around. This is a powerful labor strategy that many people don't realize. It's so simple and reducing pain is a strong desire for the vast majority of us.

Labor Strategy: How to Get Out of Bed

Unless you have an epidural or IV narcotics, you most likely have the ability to change positions and get out of the hospital bed. The problem that I have heard time and again is that people wait for the nurse to suggest that they get out of bed. If you arrive at the hospital in labor, it is likely that your nurse will ask that you get into the hospital bed for a period of monitoring. Nurses don't always encourage movement in labor and that can lead to you being stuck in bed, unless you advocate for yourself and ask about the ability to move and change positions.

Can I get out of bed?

The solution to the bed trap is often as easy as asking your nurse if you can get out of bed. If you do not have an epidural or IV narcotics, you should have this ability. There might be a time in the future where you decide to get back into the bed to rest or to get the epidural, but I suggest maximizing the time out of bed.

Move Your Body, Move the Baby

A secondary, but just as important benefit to getting out of the bed is that movement helps your body progress in labor. Doulas often say that to move the baby (down through your pelvis) it requres people to move their bodies. Changing positions and moving around can help labor progress which is the ultimate goal for labor.

When you learn the powerful labor strategy of getting out of the bed, you not only avoid the bed trap, you are also giving body the benefit of movement and setting yourself up for success. You can continue learning helpful strategies like these in the Birth Tool Box course. This course provides uber-practical guidance you can recall easily and apply naturally.

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