What Is Sims’ Position? (Definition And Explanation)

Sims’ position is described as follows. The patient lies on his or her stomach. One arm is behind the back while the other bend in front of them. One leg is straight out (on the side with the straight arm) while the leg on the opposite side is bent. This can also be called the lateral recumbent position or semi prone position.

This position was invented by James Marion Sims. He was a premier physician and gynecologist in the mid and late 19th century. He founded this position because it was easier to perform vaginal and colonic examinations and surgeries.

Sims used is the founder of several surgeries that would help women avoid complications with childbirth and not overcome certain issues that might have had after the baby was born.

Sims’ would perform the surgeries on his patients while they are resting in this position. This position was also used for enemas, treatments, and rectal and genital examinations.

Some of these grounding surgeries includes a surgery that resolve vesico-vaginal fistula. This is when there is a tearing of tissue between the vagina and the bladder (not between the vagina and anus, which much more common). Bodily waste can leak into the uterus and be very harmful to child bearing and childbirth.

Sims found a way to repair these tears and was unofficially granted this name: “The Father of Gynecology.”

However, Sims has been criticized in his practices for performing these surgical experiments on his female slaves. These slaves would usually never consent to the operation. He conducted these experiments for over a decade before solving the riddle to the surgery.

Although Sims has contributed to the advancement in the field of medicine and healthcare, his treatment of slaves is a bit unsettling to say the least. Some would say it was unethical.

This is one of those cases where an underrepresented portion of the population suffers for an advancement in medicine, healthcare, and technology.

Is that good? Is that right?

We cannot tell you that. That is the eyes of the beholder.

See also Uap nursing


Many doctors still use this position today for their patients to conduct examinations and ensure the comfort of their patient.  This is used across the board from examining pregnant women.  Sims’ position makes examining the uterus and vagina much easier.

Different surgeries can be performed from this position well. The surgeries include the removals of tumors and cysts from the uterus or digestive track and uterus, colonoscopy, repairing vaginal tears, and surgery on the bowel.