< Back to Resources




Number 4 of things you didn’t know you could decline in labor: LITHOTOMY POSITION!

This is basically lying on your back with your feet in stirrups.

The history of this position in birth is actually quite creepy.

King Louis XIV, who ruled France from 1643 to 1715, played a huge hand in popularising the lying down position... for a very odd reason. According to legend (and a handful of medical scholars), Louis XIV — who had over 22 children by both wives and mistresses alike — had a fascination with watching women give birth. (Aka: a fetish according to literature.)

Since Louis XIV reportedly enjoyed watching women giving birth, he became frustrated by the obscured view of birth when it occurred on birthing stool, and promoted the new reclining position. 🤢🤢🤢

Once the lower classes found out this was the “royal way”, they began to adopt this method as well. Then, French and British obstetricians learned of the convenience of the position for their comfort and began to require it.

To this day, the main purpose of this position is convenience and comfort of the provider. There are absolutely times when the birthing person prefers this position and that’s perfectly great! It can feel nice to just lay down. But only if that’s what feels good to them.

Other positions to consider: ANY! Side-lying, all fours, squatting, standing, on a stool, in the bath, on the toilet (seen it), while dancing in the hallway (seen in), in the car (seen it), or anything else that feels right to you! And most of these can also be used with an epidural.

The only person who’s convenience we should be considering in birth is the one pushing the baby out of their body.

What position did you deliver in?