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Do I have to labor in a hospital bed?

Nope. Unless there are high-risk issues, your nurses are unable to monitor your baby, or you have an epidural, there is no reason you can’t be on your feet during your labor.

Most commercial images of laboring women show them lying down in a hospital bed. While this makes sense if your legs are numb from an epidural, some women wonder if this is the best position to labor in. The truth is that laying on your back might not be the most comfortable.

Options such as standing up and leaning on your partner’s arms (or the elevated labor bed), sitting in a rocking chair or birthing ball, or being in what is called a hands and knees position may make labor more comfortable for you. If you need continuous fetal heart rate monitoring and are interested in being more mobile, ask if your hospital offers wireless monitors. If they don’t, as long as the monitors stay in place you can usually at least stand next to your bed or sit in a chair.

If there are any medical concerns or it is too difficult to monitor your baby this way, your nurse or doctor may ask you to remain in your bed. It never hurts to ask!

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