You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that having an epidural during labour takes away your choice of positioning. We rarely see real, raw and normal births on our tv screens showing what is available to all of us in many different birth scenarios. This woman here has had an epidural and is positioned just beautifully to open her pelvis, use gravity and rest when needed. She looks so, so comfortable while the physiology of birth is still being supported as much as possible.
If you choose to have an epidural while in labour, you can absolutely still use productive and beneficial positions to continue working with your body and your baby, for a more positive birth experience. We know that productive birth positioning will lower our risk of deep vaginal tearing as well as shortening the time we are labouring for. Also, given that an epidural will play a part in how much or how little you can feel, using your body in this way still allows you to have control over the physiological birth process. Every woman will react to an epidural differently, and some hospitals may have a ‘mobile epidural’ (or similar in name) available, which will allow you to still have some sensations, opening up your options even more to perhaps using squats, all fours and possibly even standing with assistance. It’s so important for you all to know that you do still have a choice when pain relief is involved, but it’s up to you and your birth partner to speak up and let your caregivers know what you want.
You are the expert in your birth, epidural or not!