The Dilation Station | Toilets And Labour

by | Jul 11, 2022 | Birth Support, home birth, Hospital Birth, Labour and Birth Tips

The Dilation Station

Maybe you don’t immediately think of toilets and labour when you think about birth BUT it just might be your secret weapon. There are lots of reasons why retreating to the toilet can be beneficial but maybe all you need is some time to yourself.

A darkened bathroom with the door closed is the perfect spot to touch base with yourself, your baby and your birth support.


You may have the the benefits of an active upright labour but it’s possible to rest an remain upright too!

Upright positions support an open pelvis, reduce the likelihood of interventions like epidural and assisted delivery and support strong and regular contractions.

Straddling or sitting on a toilet maintains a comfortable, supported upright position. This position is handy if you need to rest during labour, cannot tolerate lying down or have back pain. 

The shape and support a toilet gives is similar to that of a birthing stool.

The pelvis is supported but there is nothing under the
vaginal area. This makes space for baby and makes it easier to shift and move to allow baby to move downwards.

Hospital toilets will also often have a grab rail next to the toilet you can use to support yourself during positioning. 

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Toilets are generally NOT a welcoming place for visitors. So by retreating to the toilet, you can close the door and be left alone. Make it a calm, comfortable place by bringing a pillow to rest, a towel for your shoulders to keep you warm and switch off or dim the lights.

Your body works beautifully when you feel safe and supported. A dimly lit bathroom alone or with your birth support can be private and intimate. It can give you an opportunity to rest, focus on your breathing, clear your mind or discuss how you’re feeling with your birth partner. 

It is common that you may experience
episodes of diarrhoea in labour and also a full bladder can reduce the available space for baby to move down.

By sitting on the loo you can empty your bladder and bowel whenever you like. It’s a very handy place to be if your waters are continuously leaking too.

The Dilation Station | Toilets and Labour

In every day life, when we go to the toilet we relax and allow our bodies to work. This is exactly the mindset we need for birth!

Because we associate the toilet with normal
function with no fear it is likely that our bodies will follow this lead when labouring on the toilet

I remember sitting on the toilet in pitch darkness. Shifting from side to side. I could feel the seat push and press against my pelvic bones move as I shifted. I used the hand rail to lean all the way over to one side and lifted my opposite foot off the floor. I was using my weight and the pressure of the hard seat to move and open my pelvis. It was amazing.

I also recall having some stern words to myself. Trying to put the last posterior birth out of my head and focus on how this birth would be different. And it was.

Toilets and Labour | The Dilation Station

Toilet Labour
Bio Janet Purcell Birthplace

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