Biomechanics of childbirth

Palpating pelvic landmarks on a participant during motion analysis testing.

The biomechanics of maternal positioning during childbirth

Upright, natural birthing positions, such as squatting and kneeling, are associated with several benefits such as shorter labour and fewer assisted deliveries (e.g. vacuum, C-sections). Yet, recumbent delivery positions (lying on the back) are still most common in heath centres, which may be attributed to caregiver preference rather than comfort of the mother.

Three-dimensional computational model of female pelvis (bones only).

In order to further our biomechanical understanding of how upright and recumbent birth positions may contribute to certain physiologic outcomes, we will assess the effects of mobility and positioning on pelvis kinematics. In the lab we will use a motion capture device to estimate clinically relevant pelvic dimensions from digitized landmarks; this work is being conducted in collaboration with MGMCHMS, India. A computational model of musculoskeletal structures associated with childbirth will further be used to simulate the mechanical effects of maternal positioning on the birth canal and foetus during labour and delivery.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Andrea Hemmerich.