Assessment of the pelvic and body interface pressure during different recumbent and semi-recumbent birthing positions

Topalidou, Anastasia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0280-6801, Haworth, Lauren orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1718-6564, Kaur, Inderjeet, Ahmed, Maimoona and Chohan, Ambreen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0544-7832 (2024) Assessment of the pelvic and body interface pressure during different recumbent and semi-recumbent birthing positions. Clinical Biomechanics . ISSN 0268-0033 (Submitted)

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Background: Childbirth, a multifaceted physiological event, undergoes dynamic changes influenced significantly by the chosen birthing position, impacting comfort and maternal and neonatal outcomes among other factors.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the bed-body interface pressure across five commonly adopted birthing positions, particularly focusing on their influence on pelvic expansion biomechanics during labour.

Methods: Twenty healthy participants, aged between 18-49 years, were evaluated. Interface pressure across multiple regions of interest, including the head, shoulder, pelvis, and full body, were meticulously assessed under different combinations of leg and back positioning.

Findings: Significant variations in interface pressure were observed based on chosen positions. Post hoc pairwise comparisons showed different pressure distributions for all regions of interest, with the combination of legs in stirrups and a flat back resulting in the lowest average pressure in the pelvic region. During the closed glottis pushing task, this combination exhibited lower peak pressure and peak pressure index in the pelvic region compared to other positions.

Interpretation: While upright positions are conventionally preferred, the study underscores the nuanced implications of recumbent and semi-recumbent positions. Although using stirrups with a flat back exerts less pressure, lying flat can impede blood flow and exacerbate pain, while stirrups might lead to discomfort and potential complications. Given these complexities, healthcare providers must consider multiple factors to determine optimal birthing positions. The interplay between birthing positions and obstetric outcomes awaits further exploration and refinement, marking an exciting frontier in maternal care.

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