Plenty of pregnant women I speak to don’t know the importance of having their baby in an optimal position when going into labour. Your babies position can largely effect the pain you experience, how long your labour is or even go as far as to determine whether you have a vaginal birth or a c section.
Allot of women also don’t know that there are things you can do to encourage your baby into a favourable position for birth or into what is called ‘optimal foetal positioning’.
Most pregnant women know what a posterior (spine on spine) or a breech (upside down) positioned baby is but they don’t know that there are things you can be doing to encourage the baby to sit in the prime position, the anterior position.
From 30 weeks on your baby is starting to rotate and settle into your pelvis so this is the time when you should start to become aware of where your baby is sitting and how you can encourage your baby to either move or to stay in the optimal position for labour.
Now ladies, let’s be honest. The day’s of scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees are gone and if you really think about it there aren’t many activities we would do in a like position. You see, what we are aiming for the baby to do is to ‘hang’ head down, baby’s spine to your belly button.
Lying with your feet up in the couch or reading a book in bed in a reclined position is prime candidate for encouraging a posterior baby. Now I’m not saying that I never relaxed like this, after a long day it is so tempting, so hard not to recline, but what I am saying is that I became very conscious of it. I would try at any length to find an alternative position, anything that resembled at least a slight belly hang depending on the degree of my exhaustion.
When I was pregnant with Autumn I was in an office at a desk allot of the day. I would sit on my chair backwards at my desk so that I was slightly leant forward. Yes, bizarre looks came from my colleagues but as my office was small it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. When that got too much I replaced my chair with a fit ball. Every pregnant woman needs a fit ball! More on why in my next posts. If you’re not comfortable with sitting backwards then at least put your chair in a position that forces your back to be straight.
It’s called ‘doing your tummy time’.
Gabby Targett from A Labour Love says that you should aim to do ‘tummy time’ for at least 20minutes per day and up to three times a day. There are many opportunities in your day to squeeze in your tummy time.
I would lean over on a bench when chatting on the phone, I did a yoga course (or child’s pose, dog or cat pose at home). I swam laps, watched TV leaning against my fit ball, sat backwards on my chair at the dinner table or in the office. My pictures will show you some examples.
So in summary, all the research I have done will concur that
A posterior baby makes it more likely that you will experience the following
– constant back ache during labour
– harder for the baby to come down into the pelvis
– longer labour
– irregular contractions
– likely that you will need the baby turned before birth and may need forceps or assistance
An anterior baby gives you more chance of
– a shorter labour
– less pain
– less likely for intervention when birthing as the baby is in a better position.
I am not a doctor or a midwife but I have given birth to both. Autumn was anterior and Lux was posterior and I actually birthed Lux in the posterior position. I was lucky that I didn’t need him turned, most likely due to the fact that my body had birthed a baby before.
I think the reason for Lux’s position was already having birthed Autumn I relaxed and didn’t do as much tummy time as I probably should’ve, a lesson I have learned!
Although Lux’s labour was shorter it was definitely more painful and I had a hard time getting him right down into the birth canal.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s a full proof recipe for a perfectly positioned baby but it definitely has shown to give you the best chance of encouraging your baby to be where it will most likely give you a better birth experience.
Tummy time is well underway in my house!!
If you would like further information check out Gabby’s Targett’s book, A Labour of Love. You will find very detailed information regarding pregnancy and labour and loads of other things. It’s a must read for anyone wanting to empower themselves through knowledge for their birth.
Comment below if you have other tummy time positions that have worked for you. I would love to see them. Share this with anyone you who you think will get something out of it.
I want to state very clearly that I am not a doctor, midwife or birthing expert. The information is intended solely for general educational aid and must not be considered medical or health care advise. I am writing on personal experience and the opinion’s expressed here are my own. Please consult your doctor or medical advisor if you require specific information.