Traditional Birthing Positions

The widely used semi-sitting position for giving birth was not among traditional birthing positions used by women in the past.

In many non-Western cultures, women still use the squatting position, the same posture they adopt to answer the call of nature. The other traditional positions include kneeling, standing and leaning forward positions.

In practice, in China, India, Japan and Middle Eastern countries, a woman in labor would squat between the thighs of her birthing assistants during the second (pushing) stage.

In central Africa and also Columbia, a tree is placed between two other trees or stakes hammered into the ground. The woman then grasps the branch of the tree, and bends her knees into a squatting position as she pushes.

Native American women mostly kneeled, leaned forward and grasp a pole or tree.

In southern Africa, the woman may kneel, legs wide apart, with her heels supporting her perineum (the area at the bottom of the body, between the anus and the vagina/birthing canal).

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