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Abdominal Lifting

Natural Childbirth Technique for Promoting Fetal Descent

Abdominal lifting is a natural childbirth technique that has been advocated by a mathematician who has studied the vector forces of labor. The goal is to assist the head to enter the pelvis by utilizing the baby's spine and neck as a vector.

How to Use Abdominal Lifting In Labor

With this technique, the mother stands with a wall or support person behind her back. She interlocks her fingers and places her hands on the under side of her belly. During a contraction, she presses the abdomen upward.

So what is happening internally with this procedure? The mother is directing the baby's back and neck to a different angle, making it easier for the head to enter the pelvis. If the baby is posterior, the neck and back act as a hinge, and the baby's head should rotate. In addition it has the positive benefit of ending the pain of back labor, which is why the author advocates it.

Stated Benefits

There are two theorized benefits of the practice in labor:
  • Eliminate back pain associated with posterior position of the baby (baby is facing mother's abdomen rather than mother's back)
  • Quicker descent of baby into pelvis and shorter labor


Use this method only at your birth site

Janie McCoy King, the author who has developed and promoted this method, strongly advocates that a mother NOT do this technique until she is at the desired place of birth, because it has resulted in some very quick deliveries.

Research on Abdominal Lifting for Childbirth

To date, this technique has not received the research it deserves to determine how effective it might be for mothers. Some mothers have birthed their babies rather quickly after utilizing this technique, but not enough data exists to ascertain that the abdominal lifting was a contributing factor to the time of the birth.

As a doula and midwife, I have seen a few babies come very quickly using this technique. Also, I have seen women use it with no apparent effect. From my experience it seems to be either very effective or have no effect at all. However, research has not been done to substantiate that deduction.

The only known risk is the possiblity of delivering away from the hospital or birth center if this technique is employed at home. No risks to the baby have been demonstrated.

Resources on Abdominal Lifting

Here's the book that started this trend. It's not as easy to find as it was a decade ago but it gives a mathematical and physics explanation of the technique.
Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King

Here is a short video from Optimal Maternal Positioning showing the technique with a rebozo.(

By Karen Newell Copyright 2003 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA