Why we give birth on our backs….

Most women give birth lying down – and that’s nothing to do with biology or medicine. In fact, the real reason is a little creepy and it’s all to do with one man’s very weird fetish.

King Louis XIV, who ruled France from 1643 to 1715, played a huge hand in popularising the lying down position… for a very odd reason.

According to legend (and a handful of medical scholars), Louis XIV — who had over 22 children by both wives and mistresses alike — had a fascination with watching women give birth. “Prior to this time, the recorded history of birthing indicates upright birth postures were used extensively,” Professor Lauren Dundes writes in the American Journal of Public Health.

There was nothing wrong with the common birthing practices from that for one thing: the king didn’t have as good a view of the “action” as he liked to have, if his wives and mistresses were giving birth in an upright position.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, the reclining childbirth position is all his fault and, as such, a relatively new way of giving birth (he ruled between 1643 and 1715).

His weird fetish meant that women began lying on “birthing tables” with their feet in stirrups and, in the case of the birth of his children, he’d be peeping behind a screen to watch the action unfold.
Once the lower classes found out his method, it began to spread.

“The influence of the King’s policy is unknown, although the behaviour of royalty must have affected the populace to some degree. Louis XIV’s purported demand for change did coincide with the changing of the position and may well have been a contributing influence.”

Some experts claim the reclining birthing position, still the most common position used today, can prolong labour and even increase the need for a C-section.

The most optimal position for birth is upright, forward and open. Never, ever lying down. Always remember UFO!

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