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Sims Position: Definition, Benefits, and Explanation

What is Sims Position?

Sims position is one of the traditional methods for carrying out childbirth (1). Various factors such as easy administration for natural childbirth and practical advantages in breech delivery, congestive heart failure, hip joint restriction, and fewer varicosities have contributed to its popularity. It is also the one most preferred options for women who want to pursue less restricted and natural child deliveries (2).

This position was invented by the father of modern Gynecology, James Marion Sims, and hence, the name Sims positions. He was one of the most popular physicians and gynecologists of the 19th century who dedicated himself to the service of mankind by inventing various tried and tested techniques, through which he could help women survive through various complications or issues that they generally go through prior to, during, or after the phase of childbirth (3).

Sims position was his brainchild through which he aimed at facilitating easier vaginal and colonic examinations as well as the surgeries. The scope of this position is not limited to the above-mentioned procedures, but it is equally effective for carrying out enemas, treatments, and even genital and rectal examinations (4).

The Position

It is a modified form of prone or lateral position where the patient is positioned at his/her side such that the upper leg is bent inside towards the chest while the upper arm is bent at the elbow.

How to Help the Patient through the Sims Positions?

  • Raise the opposite side rails of the bed and tighten the wheels. Ensure that the patient is at a point of the bed that is closely approachable to you.
  • Turn the patient on his/her side such that he/she faces away from you, and is partially lying on the side while partially on the stomach. You can try using a positioning aid such as a pillow.
  • Position the upper arm or the right arm of the patient such that it is bent along the shoulders and the elbow.
  • The lower arm of the patient, that is the left arm, should be aligned such that it lies along the patient’s back.
  • Bend both the legs in front of the patient such that the upper leg is more flexed as compared to the lower one.
  • Placing the upper hand onto the shoulder, position the lower one over the nearest buttock.
  • Adjust the arms and shoulders so that they do not go through excess pressure and do not face problems while breathing.
  • Lower the side rails of the bed.

Since lying down in this posture might be uncomfortable, you can consider placing a pillow beneath the head and elbow of the patient, and another one between both the legs.

Advantages of Sims Position

Besides assisting the doctors and nursing staff to easily conduct the test in a way that the patient does not feel embarrassed and is comfortable, there are many other advantages of using Sims position for carrying out the examination.

Various other advantages offered by this technique are as follows:

  • It gives a clear view of the area to be examined, that is, the rectal area, the vaginal area, cervix, or the genital area. This would help the examiner to comprehend the situation better and, hence, come up with more effective solutions.

  • Glands can be easily examined since this position provides enough space to allow a physical contact between the testing device and the affected area. This would help with the better determination of the issue’s gravity, and hence, the suggestion efficacious treatments.
  • The examination of cystocele, rectocele, uterine prolapse, and their corresponding degrees can be easily identified.
  • It offers greater freedom of movements to the obstetrician. (5)

Besides assisting the medical staff, this position is also the most comfortable position for the pregnant ladies to sleep. It is because it restores the blood circulation slowed down owing to the weight of the fetus and the amniotic fluid.

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