Warning: This post contains a graphic photo of a woman in labour.
An incredible photo of a woman in labour has been shared around the world, surprising even women who have given birth.
Tangi Birth Services (TBS) in the US posted the photo earlier this month. It shows a woman leaning over a hospital bed, with a large bulge protruding from her lower back.
“Can you see that bulge on her lower back? That is the rhombus of Michaelis,” TBS explained in the caption.
“During the second stage of labour, a combination of bones including your sacrum actually move backwards and in doing so, increases the diameter of your pelvis.
“This is what is known as opening of the back.
“This is completely normal and is in fact an integral part of a physiological birth as it allows your baby the maximum amount of space to turn as they navigate their way out into the world.”
"Can you see that bulge on her lower back? That is the rhombus of Michaelis. During the second stage of labour, a…
TBS added this was the reason they encouraged mums to deliver in “upright and leaning forward” positions.
“Your body was made to do this! And your body and your baby work together!” the post continued.
“Birth is not something to be feared… it is something to be understood!”
TBS also explained they were sharing their knowledge because, “this post is about showing how important it is to deliver how your body wants and not just on your back in a bed like many OBs will “make” you do.”
The image was originally shared by North Dallas Doulas on Instagram, where Dr Sarah Wickham explained the background of the photo.
“This second time mum had a precipitous/rapid birth, and used chiropractic care throughout her pregnancy and postpartum,” she wrote.
According to Dr Wickham’s website, the rhombus only protrudes for “a matter of minutes”, before it retracts after serving its purpose.
The post of the photo on the TBS Facebook page this month went viral, being shared more than 50,000 times. Hilary Rorison, an Australian midwife and midwifery advisor with The Australian College of Midwives, saw the photo, too.
“It’s amazing this image is getting so much attention,” she told Mamamia.
“The more women are aware of the ways they can work with their bodies during labour, the better.”
Rorison explained that a woman’s ligaments loosen during pregnancy, to prepare the body for delivery. This is primarily due to the hormone relaxin.
“A non-pregnant pelvis is rigid, but one about to deliver needs to be loose,” she explained.
“It is the mum’s mechanism for adjusting for the baby. And it’s one of the reasons why we now suggest women get off their backs during labour, because lying on your back stops the body from making the last adjustments.”