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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Walking around during early stages of labour 'better than lying flat'

Walking around during early stages of labour 'better than lying flat'

April 15, 2009 15:39 IST

Moms-to-be, please note! Walking around in early labour is better than lying flat, researchers have claimed.

A new study by an international team has revealed that women who sit up or walk around at the onset of labour deliver the baby sooner than those who lie-down, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

"In most developing countries, women stand up or walk around as they wish during the early stages of birth, with no ill effects. This review demonstrates there's some benefit and no risk to being upright and mobile during first stage labour. Based on these results, we would recommend that women are encouraged to use whichever position they find comfortable, but are specifically advised to avoid lying flat," lead author Annemarie Lawrence of Townsville Hospital in Queensland said.

In fact, the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of data from 21 researches, involving 3,000 women. They found that remaining upright reduced the first stage of labour by about an hour in pregnant women. From the onset of contractions until the mother begins to push, those who knelt, stood up, walked around or sat upright had a faster labour than those who lay down.

In a separate review, it was found that women who used a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) machine during labour experienced less pain, though the evidence was not strong. Transcutaneous nerve stimulation machine emits low-voltage electrical impulses and the frequency and intensity can be controlled and altered by the patient themselves. It is generally placed on the lower back.

This review found some evidence that it reduced pain in labour over placebo devices, while using the machine does not seem to increase the likelihood of other interventions during labour. According to the researchers, women should be offered the choice of using TENS at whatever stage of labour they feel it may help. Mervi Jokinen, Practice and Standards Development Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives said: "We welcome this review because the benefits of mobility for women giving birth have been known to midwives for a long time."

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