We know that as your due date approaches, many of you mummies-to-be will be googling and searching for all the info you can get on what you can expect when you go into labour. Many of you are also wondering how to make your labour more comfortable and quicker. Labour is usually much speedier and easier if your baby is in a favourable position; which is often referred to as the Optimal Foetal Positioning (OFP). There are a few techniques which you can try at home and at classes like ours, which can help you turn your baby during your pregnancy. As a bonus we have also included a short guide at the end of the blog on how to improve baby’s position and turn baby during labour.
But, first, let’s explore a few things.
What Is The Best Position For My Baby To Be In?
As we briefly mentioned above, the best position for your baby to be in is the so called Optimal Foetal Positioning. Briefly said, this is the position where baby is head down and facing the back. This is because, positioned this way, baby fits perfectly into the curve of your pelvis. If baby is the other way round – bottom-down, this is called breech position, and if it’s head down but facing your tummy this is called occipito-posterior position.
Why Is The Optimal Foetal Positioning Best?
Optimal Foetal Positioning allows baby to be lined up to fit through the pelvis as easy as possible. It also means that baby’s head comes out first and, because it’s a rounded surface, it provides even pressure on your cervix. This pressure will allow your cervix to widen more easily and complications are less likely. Additionally, when it comes to the rest of the stages of birth and pushing, the angles at which baby moves through in this position are much better for a smooth birth.
This generally means you are more likely to have a quicker labour and birth, you may need less pain relief and you’re less likely to need a c-section.
Why Are Babies Positioned Differently?
This can be for many reasons. It can be your body structure, the type of pelvis you have or, even, generally the way you sit and move during your pregnancy. Depending on your pelvic shape, baby might simply settle for a position that fits her better during pregnancy and is just more comfortable.
Additionally, according to some, there seems to be a correlation with spending a lot of time sitting, when your pelvis would be tipped backwards in such a way that may make baby settle in a posterior position due to gravity. Baby may end up lying against your spine for comfort and its important to remember baby can move of their own will – although we don’t think you will have trouble remembering when they start kicking!
So How Can I Help My Baby To Get Into the Optimal Foetal Positioning?
There isn’t a guaranteed way to make baby turn but there are several things you can do at home or at classes to encourage baby to get into Optimal Foetal Positioning during pregnancy:
- • Try to get plenty of rest at night.
- • Remain upright and active during the day
- • Eat and drink nutritious things regularly to keep up your strength.
- • Kneeling and leaning forward on a beanbag while watching your favourite programmes.
- • Pelvic rocks on all fours. Make sure you do several sets a day.
- • Visualisation of baby in the most usual position as taught in our Hypnobirthing sessions
- • Do some light back stretches on all fours like we teach during our Pregnancy Yoga classes. This can also help with back pain during pregnancy.
- • Don’t cross your legs! This reduces the space at the front of the pelvis and opens it up at the back. For good positioning, the baby needs to have lots of space at the front.
- • Sleep on your side, not on your back.
- • Avoid deep squatting in late pregnancy. However, remember as taught in our Hypnobirthing classes, squatting is really useful during labour itself!
- • Swimming, especially our Aqua Natal classes “Beetle Swim” technique is really good -because all those leg movements help open your pelvis and settle the baby downwards.
- • Our Aqua Natal yoga classes move “Dolphin Dives” helps to gravitate baby downwards and turn into the OFP. However, please don’t try this until you’ve been at one of our classes!
- • A fit ball can encourage good positioning, both before and during labour.
- • Pregnancy Yoga moves such as: Cat & Cow, Tail wags, Birthing Circles.
And most importantly, before you panic that your baby hasn’t turned yet, remember that no matter what position baby is in close to your due date or even at the start of labour, he/she is likely to change position to get itself into an anterior position by the pushing stage. If you start to experience pains a few days before labour starts, this could be baby moving into the right position ready to come into the world!
And here is our short guide on how to help baby turn once you’re in labour if he still hasn’t turned!
How To Help Baby To Get Into the Optimal Foetal Positioning During Labour?
- • If birthing in the hospital, try not to take the role of a patient and get into the bed! Lean forward during your contractions – use a birth ball, beanbag, your partner or the bed to lean on.
- • Ask your birth partner to massage your back, use the techniques we teach in Hypnobirthing
- • Rock your pelvis during contractions to help your baby turn as he passes
through the pelvis.
- • If you get exhausted during labour, lie on your left side, as your pelvis can still expand to give your baby space to turn while you are resting.
- • You may find being on all fours helps to relieve back pain, in this position baby will drop away from your spine and help him/her to turn too.
We hope you find this information helpful, however keep in mind that this isn’t medical advice and if at any point you are in doubt, please, contact your midwife or health professional.