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

 

Preparing for Labor: 5 Ways to Prepare for Labor

Preparing for Labor:  5 Ways to Prepare for Labor

The anticipation of labor can be a daunting and frightening experience, especially for first-time moms.  The fear of the unknown, expectation of pain and the anxiety of bringing home a newborn can all be very overwhelming.  Every mom’s labor experience is different and there will inevitably be unknown elements involved.  However, preparing for labor can help ease stress, fear and anxiety surrounding this major event.

Check out these 5 ways to prepare for labor to help wrap your head around what’s to come:

1)  Take a Childbirth Class

Knowledge is power and knowing what to expect during labor and delivery can help calm the nerves.  Not all birthing experiences are routine but having an understanding of the process can be extremely helpful.  Childbirth classes will review every step of labor and delivery, from recognizing the first signs of labor and when to call your doctor, to pain management techniques and the birthing process.  Invite your partner to the class as well so he can be full immersed in the experience with you.

2)  Have a Birth Plan

Prepare a birth plan that details your hopes and desires during labor, delivery and beyond.  This roadmap can act as a guide for you, your partner and caregivers to help carry out your expectations.  A birth plan may include ways in which you would like to labor, whether or not you want medication during labor and your plans to breastfeed.  However, like all medical procedures, you and your team will have to remain flexible and fluid with these plans.  If your situation dictates a change, everyone will have to proceed in the best interest of you and the baby.

3)  Strengthen Your Body

Labor is hard work and stronger bodies are better able to cope with its demands.  Having a strong core, specifically the lower abdominals and pelvic floor, will help you push alongside your contractions for a smoother delivery.  Strong back and leg muscles will help your body carry the extra weight of your growing belly during pregnancy. Going into labor without aches and pains will make the process much easier.  Also, maintaining an exercise routine is great for your heart, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and joints.  Those with a strong foundation of exercise, have an easier time dealing with pain associated with labor and delivery.

4)  Pack Your Bags

Frantically heading to the hospital without a single possession of your own can get things started off on the wrong foot.  Have your bag packed with your essentials including toiletries, clothes, pain management tools (heat packs, music, pillows, etc…), snacks and of course your nursing bras for post-delivery. The comfort of these items will help you settle into your labor and delivery room and keep your mind in the game.

5)  Stay Positive and Believe in Yourself

When “go time” arrives, you’re in it to win it.  Work through the pain and try to remember all you’ve done to prepare for this moment.  Lean on your partner, nurses, doctor and caregivers to help you get through.  They will give you direction, advice and encouragement throughout the process.  You’re not in it alone.  Remember, the prize at the end of the journey is well worth all you’re going through in this intense moment.