Doula Chats: 4 Positions for Body Birth Prep

July 18, 2022

Over the past couple of months I have been intrigued with learning about what can be done during pregnancy that will lead to better birth outcomes beyond taking your prenatal vitamins. We know that birth is a physical event and is often compared to running a marathon, so it only makes sense that just as training for a marathon will help you successfully complete all 26.2 miles with better recovery, training for childbirth will result in the same.

Obviously, "training" for birth will look differently from training for a marathon. We can't practice birthing like we can practice running. Instead, we can stretch our bodies and practice strengthening and releasing muscles that will help us during birth.

There are a multitude of pregnancy-friendly exercises that you may want to try. The following four positions are focused on releasing and strengthening the muscles directly correlating to childbirth. For more ideas on pregnancy exercises, I suggest following @mamastefit and @thebellemethod on instagram. And click here to watch a reel with all these positions made by yours truly. ;)

Instead of slumping back into your couch or favorite chair to watch a show, try Tailor Sitting. This position is basically the same as sitting "cross-legged" or "criss-cross applesauce." Don't worry if your knees can't relax close to the floor (yet!). If you need extra support, you can sit up against a wall, or sit on a yoga mat or rolled up towel. If you want more of a challenge, try taking a deep breath as you gently pressing down on your knees towards the floor for about 5 seconds, then releasing.


• It helps promote good posture and can reduce back pain and improve circulation

• Improving posture improves position of uterus allowing for more room for baby to move into a more favorable position for birth.

• Gain strength in pelvis, hip, and thigh muscles

• Improves flexibility in the inner thighs and groin

• May help prevent uterine prolapse and urinary incontinence postpartum

• Helps prepare your body for extended periods of time keeping your legs apart

Pelvic tilts are basically the cat and cow positions in yoga, but don't focus as much on arching your back in the cow pose, or arching your shoulders in the cat pose.


• Relaxation

• Helps with fetal positioning by creating room

Stand with your feet about a foot apart with your heels flat on the floor, lean slightly forward, and drop gently down into a squatting position. Leaning forward helps you keep your balance. If you can't keep your heels flat at first, don't worry. Just keep practicing. The tendons in the back of your ankles will lengthen and you will be able to keep them flat eventually. Keep your knees wide apart and come up bottom-first (if you're not lifting anything). Helps to deflect baby forward out of pelvic ring. You avoid tamping the baby down into the bony pelvis and impeding circulation to your legs. You can push on your thighs to help you stand. You can use a rebozo or your partner to help you if you need.


• Helps stretch the perineum, making it more flexible

• Also helps prepare your body for extended periods of time keeping your legs apart

• When you squat, the bottom part of your pelvic bone spread wider apart creating as much as 1.5-3 cm more room!

Stand next to a wall, chair, or railing if you need support, stand with your feet hip-width apart, shift your weight onto the left leg, and swing the right leg forward and backward as high as you can. Swing for 1 minute, then switch legs.


• Stretches/opens the hip and leg muscles, increasing flexibility

As with any position, be sure that you are going at your own pace and that you aren't over-extending yourself. Further flexibility will come with time and practice.


Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon - Book


*Susan Joy is a Doula and Birth Documenter serving the families of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, San Tan, and other cities in the East Valley. The information presented here is not medical advice. All medical decisions should be made after discussion with your medical provider.*

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