There's an odd non-medical reason why women give birth lying back 2 years ago

There's an odd non-medical reason why women give birth lying back

Ever wondered why women traditionally lie down or recline to give birth?

It's actually a fairly modern phenomenon and it may be down to the preference of a French monarch.

For much of history, women gave birth either in a squatting position, down on all fours or possibly on a birthing stool.

However, it's claimed that the 'reclining birth' was popularised by King Louis XIV of France.

He ruled between 1643 and 1715 and fathered 22 children in his lifetime, both in marriage and with a number of mistresses.

The king is thought to have enjoyed watching his children being born and wanted a better view of what went on during the process.

There's an odd non-medical reason why women give birth lying back

"He became frustrated by the obscured view of birth when it occurred on a birthing stool, and promoted the new reclining position," wrote sociologist Lauren Dundes in the American Journal of Public Health.

He didn't make giving birth lying down a policy for his subjects but, regardless, it caught on.

"The influence of the King's policy is unknown, although the behavior of royalty must have affected the populace to some degree," continues Ms Dundes.

"Louis XIV's purported demand for change did coincide with the changing of the position and may well have been a contributing influence."

As time went on and migration and colonisation moved people around the world, the technique became more and more common.

So, rather than any new medical knowledge or developments, the change could well have come about because of one man's preference.