Known as the most practiced position in the delivery room, it is anything but comfortable for many women. It was actually a famous king of France who imposed it in the 1700s, for a rather perverse reason.
At one time, women chose their own position when giving birth to their baby. They naturally knelt, stood, or even sat on a special seat. Eventually, they trusted their instincts, and adopted a position in which they felt comfortable to push and birth their child. But then, Who made women lie on their backs during childbirth? Because although young mothers today prefer to return to more natural positions, this (unnatural) posture has gradually become the most common position for giving birth: lying on a bed, legs apart, feet trapped. in stirrups.
A posture dictated by a king of France to satisfy a certain passion
Are you surprised if we tell you that the idea came from a man? And not just any one, it would come from the Sun King himself! According to a study on the evolution of the positions of pregnant women during childbirth, conducted by sociologist Lauren Dundes and published in the American journal Public Health Then and Now, scholars have stated that this change in position was due to “a perverse whim” of Louis XIV. Indeed, in the 1700s, this famous king apparently had a passion for everything related to obstetrics and above all, he “loved” watch women give birth. Except that his majesty was regularly “frustrated” not to see in detail what was happening when a child was given birth, since the mother generally stood or sat in a birthing chair.
From then on, he would have used his influence to ensure that a new childbirth posture was established: the supine position, also known as the gynecological position, which women also take during a gynecological examination. According to Lauren Dundes’ article, the Sun King also contributed to the birth attendants being men.
Since that time, the supine position for giving birth has become the one most often practiced in birthing rooms. But there is also a whole series of positions. Today, we are also noticing a return to certain more natural postures (on all fours, standing, squatting or on the side) which relieve women during labor.