(Optimum Foetal Positioning)
All babies are different and trusting your baby’s ability to choose their own correct position is paramount. However due to the nature of our modern lifestyle, ways of sitting and being - many babies aren’t able to position themselves optimally.
What is the optimum position?
When baby’s back is curled into your bump, and their chin is tucked in to chest. This means the smallest part of their head fits into your pelvis, without the lumbar curve of your back getting in the way of their journey downwards.
Why is it important?
Babies who start labour in the Occiput Posterior position (Back to back – as in their back to your back) will often need a few hours of good strong early labour contractions to help them turn into the Anterior position, before they begin to move downwards. It is well doccumented in midwifery text books that OP labours last longer. There may also be a stop start pattern to early contractions as baby turns and engages.
This can be absolutely fine, and many women cope really well, especially when good one to one support is in place, savouring their energy and birthing without medical assistance.
However it can be tiring for the mother, and in a medical setting where arbitary time limits are imposed, may mean that more interventions are reccomended to artificially speed things up, which can often lead to instrumental deliveries, foetal distress and even unplanned caesarean birth.
What can I do?
The good news is there are lots of things you can do to encourage baby into a great position for birth. Remember baby’s back is the heaviest part of them, so leaning forwards rather than slumping back means gravity will assist you!
Positions for Optimum Positioning
- Upright and forward leaning positions.
- Knees lower than hips
- Start at 25 – 30 weeks, to get into practice.
- Increase from 32 weeks.
- Avoid long periods in bucket seats, cars, leaning back on sofa.
Release Tension from your Pelvis
Sometimes ligaments and muslces within the pelvis can become tight and reduce the space available for baby to move into. You can release tension by:
- Practinging inversions, such as downward dog, or full invesions.
- Belly Sifting
- Bump Wrapping
You can consult a qualified practitioner at your pregnancy yoga or couples class to learn these techniques.