How the Delivery Position Has Changed

The oldest known depiction of childbirth appears in rock paintings in the Central Sahara that date back about 10,000 years. It shows a standing mother giving birth.

There is ample historical evidence that women rarely lay down to have their babies. It was much more normal to be upright. Mothers used to brace themselves against posts, lean against tree trunks or cling onto ropes for support

The precursor of the birth chair was the "birth stone" used in ancient Egypt around 2500 B.C.

Throughout antiquity, women continued to crouch, squat, sit or kneel. As time went on, it was sometimes even considered a disgrace for a mother to lie down while bringing her baby into the world.

Up to about 200 years ago, a mother normally adopted a semirecumbent position in bed or sat on her husband's lap, or on that of a woman friend. The birth chair was used for this purpose.

India, China and Japan also commonly made use of the birth chair and of other vertical delivery positions.

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