Active birthing

It's becoming increasingly popular, but what exactly is an active birth and how can you get one?

Birthing options and having an active birth

The active birth movement started back in the 1970s in the UK as a reaction to what was rapidly becoming the norm: women labouring while lying on their backs confined to a bed (where doctors can easily see what’s going on).


Active birthers pointed out that since the dawn of time women have used a variety of positions to give birth in, many of them upright, and that moving around during labour and changing position can help to relieve labour pains and help the body do its job. At the most simple level it makes sense to work with gravity to push your baby out.

Active birthing is all about empowering and encouraging women to get in touch with their own bodies and to stay active during labour, working with their bodies to bring their babies safely and calmly into the world using the most natural positions. The focus is on approaching labour with a positive mindset, relaxation techniques to help cope with the pain, and plenty of confidence. And it’s growing in popularity.

This ideal of an active birth appeals to many women, and if you’re one of them you might be wondering what you can do to ensure that that’s the kind of birth you experience. The bad news is that you can’t: No-one can tell you how your labour will go and what birthing positions or medical intervention will be safest for your baby when the time comes. The good news, however, is that there is plenty you can do to boost your chances of an active labour, and that many of the techniques you learn along the way may come in useful to help you cope with whatever kind of labour you’re ultimately faced with. The key is to prepare for how you’d like your birth to be without fixating on that as the only way your labour should go. So if you are going to rush out and buy a birthing pool, don’t lose sight of the fact that you may not get to use it.

Provisos aside, here are our top tips for an active birth.

1) Birth Preparation classes

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