As told to Cindy Lever by Holly Stephenson, 32, from the Hunter Valley.
Birthing on a bed for me felt like a very submissive position, while upright felt like I was taking control and it was the most comfortable for me.
When I had my first baby, I was very young and didn’t know anything. I thought lying on your back was the only way to give birth.
Mums and non-mums answer questions about childbirth… and their responses are very different.
My labour was arduous because the baby was in the wrong position and I was forced to birth her on my back as I didn’t know the benefits of being upright. I had prolonged pushing and a second-degree tear to my perineum and a first-degree tear upwards into my labia. It made recovery very painful.
With my second one, I still didn’t know too much about positioning and birthed in a semi-recumbent position on the bed and as a result my son was born compromised due to a mild-moderate shoulder dystocia which required manoeuvres to release his anterior shoulder.
I went from lying on my back with my knees jammed up to my chest to being flipped on my hands and knees which with some assistance allowed me to birth him. I suffered mild PTSD afterwards as a result and went wild researching the best positions for birthing ‘big’ babies.
I read plenty of articles and fell in love with Ina May Gaskin, who very quickly demonstrated through her practice that birthing upright was extremely beneficial, particularly in scenarios where women may potentially be expecting a bigger baby and or have had a previous shoulder dystocia complication.