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Active birth positions for different stages of labour

Here are active birthing positions you can practise at home during the first and second stages of labour. I've included how to get into each pose, variations, focus points and ways your birth partner can help support you.

Childs Pose

Childs pose can be a lovely pose to ground, reconnect and recharge in the early and first stages of labour.

How to:

Begin by kneeing on your mat with you big toes touching. Widen your knees so that your knees are at the outside edges of the mat or as far as it feels comfortable to do so. Walk your hands forward so that you are forward leaning and your forehead rests on your mat beneath you. Lower your bottom towards your heels.


  • Hands can grab opposite elbows if this pose feels uncomfortable in the shoulders or chest.

  • You can rest your forehead on a cushion if you are unable to get your forehead to the ground.


Focus your breath on opening of the pelvis

Birth partner:

Birth partners can support you here by gently massaging the sacrum, lower back and shoulders.

Seated on the birthing ball

Being sat on a birth ball can open up the pelvis up to 25% more so lets not underestimate the benefits of just sitting on the birth ball alone!

How to:

Make sure that your feet are firmly pressed into the floor beneath you. You want to have your hips and your knees are level or slightly higher. Move your hips in circles, side to side and figure of 8.


Hands can be placed on baby and connecting back to breath

Birth Partner:

Birth partner can massage shoulders

Birth Ball forward leaning

This pose allow your upper body and arms to be supported which can be nice when you begin to feel a little more tired. Closing your eyes can refocus the mind connecting back to the breath. This can be used in the first and second stages of labour and keeps the pelvis open to encourage baby to descend down. Forward leaning on the breath ball helps to encourage babies into optimal fetal positioning.

How to:

Rest your cheek, upper chest and arms onto a birth ball. Have your legs hip distance or wider apart. While here bring awareness to your lower back and avoid over arching and sticking your bottom up to the ceiling. Imagine hugging your baby in towards your spine to engage abdominals. Move your hips side to side and in circles.

Birth Partner:

Birth partner can be massaging your lower back and sacrum

Birth Ball half yogi squat

Like the pose above this helps to encourage babies into optimal fetal positioning, creates openness in the pelvis while having the support of your birth ball for the upper body. This can be a great way to stay active and bring movement to the body in the first and second stage of labour.

How to:

Start in a seated kneeling position interlace your finger together and slowly lower your hands and forearms onto your birth ball. Move your elbow to be shoulder width apart resting on your birth ball. Step your right foot forward and over to the right hand side of the birth ball. Begin to do circle movements with the hips going clockwise for a few rounds and then changing to anticlockwise before moving onto the other side.

Birth Partner:

Your birth partner can be positioned facing you on your birth ball (as demonstrated by my toddler :) ), holding your hands as support and reminding you to connect back to the breath and to relax your jaw.

Check out my Youtube video on how to use your birth ball below


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