The Risks of Lithotomy Position During Labor

The lithotomy position is a commonly used position during labor. However, this birthing position can also cause side effects for pregnant women and the fetus, especially if the delivery process or surgery lasts a long time.

In normal delivery, pregnant women are asked to lie down with both legs open, legs raised, and knees bent. This position is known as the lithotomy position. Not only during childbirth, the lithotomy position is also often used during vaginal examinations and operations in the pelvic area (colposcopy), such as urinary tract surgery, colon surgery, and tumor surgery on the prostate.

Although commonly used, several studies have shown that lying in the lithotomy position during surgery is at risk for injury to the lower limbs, especially if the operation lasts long enough.

Various Complications Due to Lithotomy Position

In the process of delivery, the lithotomy position is more widely used because the doctor can more easily monitor the condition of the mother and baby. However, it turns out that this position has some side effects, both for the mother and the baby. These side effects include:

1. Slow down the labor process

According to some studies, the lithotomy position can lower the mother's blood pressure and make uterine contractions more painful. The lithotomy position is also said to make the labor process take longer.

Compared to the lithotomy position, some doctors and midwives say that the squatting position can be more effective during normal delivery. This position is also considered to reduce pain due to contractions and speed up the opening of the birth canal, thereby facilitating delivery.

2. Increase the risk of episiotomy

An episiotomy is an incision made along the perineum or the area between the vagina and anus, in order to widen the size of the birth canal during delivery. This action is usually performed by a doctor or midwife to prevent severe tearing of the birth canal. However, not all mothers undergo this procedure.

Several studies have shown that mothers who give birth vaginally with a lithotomy position are more at risk of requiring an episiotomy. This is because the lithotomy position is said to increase the risk of injury to the perineum.

3. Increase the chance of caesarean section

When compared to the squatting position, giving birth in a lithotomy position can increase the risk of a cesarean section, especially if the pregnant woman is undergoing a high-risk pregnancy. In addition, the lithotomy position can also increase the possibility of using assistive devices during delivery, such as forceps or vacuum, to remove the baby from the birth canal.

4. Increases the risk of anal muscle injury

Birth in the lithotomy position is also said to increase the risk of muscle injury sphincter the anus in childbirth due to increased pressure in these muscles. The risk of this injury is higher in women who have given birth for the first time.

Injury sphincter can have long-term effects, such as pain and discomfort in the anus, fecal incontinence, anal fistulas, and sexual dysfunction.

Keep in mind that childbirth with the lithotomy position or any method will always have side effects or accompanying complications. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with your obstetrician or midwife to determine a safe delivery method that suits your condition.