Preparing for Labor: Ideal Birth Position

Preparing for Labor: Ideal Birth PositionAs the end of your pregnancy nears, your baby is packing her bags (so to speak) and getting ready to travel to this wonderful place called ‘the world.” Most babies instinctively know how to position themselves for the journey but some didn’t get the memo about ideal birth position.

In your last weeks before your baby’s due date, your OB will help you begin preparing for labor. One of the steps will be to check to see if your baby is progressing toward the ideal birth position, known as anterior position, in which her head is down and facing your back.

Approximately one-third of babies are in the occipital posterior position where her head is down but facing your stomach. In many instances babies naturally turn to the ideal birth position during labor, but a c-section is necessary if your baby does not turn around.

About one in every 25 babies is breech, which is when her feet or bottom are facing down toward the birth canal ready to come out first. Research indicates that breech births have the best outcomes if done by c-section. If your OB finds your baby is breech during your last few weeks of pregnancy, she will likely suggest an external cephalic version that entails putting pressure on your abdomen to try to get your baby to turn around. Although it doesn’t seem very technical, it works in up to 50% of breech cases.

If your baby is still not in the ideal birth position and the clock is ticking towards her due date, try these exercises to entice her to reposition:

Rock your Hips: Sitting on an exercise or birthing ball, rock your hips back and force, forwards and backwards, and in figure eights.

Kneel with Support: Kneel on the floor leaning over a cushion that will support and not crush your belly. Sway your hips every once in awhile.

Walk Around: Walking helps loosen ligaments that connect to your uterus and pelvis. This may create the space your baby needs to get into the ideal birth position.

Swim Laps: Swimming is a wonderful pregnancy exercise (weightless belly anyone?) and the scissor kick motion naturally flutters your hips to help your baby reposition.

Sit Backwards: Sit backwards straddling a chair and lean forward holding onto the back of the chair.

All Fours: Crawl around on all fours (yes, like a dog) and then every once in awhile are your back upwards (yes, like a cat).

Do Squats: If you can handle it this late into pregnancy, do squats to help open your hips. Hold each for 15-20 seconds. Make sure you have perfect squat form so you don’t hurt yourself.

Be sure to ask your OB before trying any exercises to get your baby into the ideal birth position. And remember, every birth is special and beautiful, even if it wasn’t the one you envisioned.

Sources: Parents and Tommys