Getting the Head Down

I’ve been learning a lot about child birth in the last few months and one of the most interesting things I’ve come across is how important the position of the baby is for labor.

The fun part about seeing a doula/midwife is that she palpates my belly at every appointment and can tell where the baby is positioned based on how his movements have been and what she feels.

This is totally different than appointments at my OB group, where they simply use the Doppler to find the heartbeat and then send us on our way.

For instance, we know that the baby’s butt is pressed against my left rib cage and that his legs are giving my right rib cage some nice solid kicks. Over the last few months, as the midwife has palpated my stomach she’s been able to feel his head move from a transverse position on my right side to the LOA, head down position right above my pelvis.

Having a heads down baby is important because it directly affects labor and birth. When a baby’s head is in the right position it helps the mother’s cervix to dilate and for labor to progress more smoothly. The whole point of uterine contractions is to move the baby down the birth canal and into the right position to come out.

The optimum baby position is head down with the baby’s back to the front or left. All this info is from www.spinningbabies.com – it’s a great site with a lot of info about fetal positioning.

I’ve been practicing some of the recommended moves for optimal baby positioning.

Like this:

downward facing dog for optimum fetal positioning

I did this almost every night until Week 32. At that point, the belly was just too big.

And this:

Child's pose for fetal positioning

This one feels great on the hip joints and I've continued to do it through my third trimester. Kind of a modified Child's Pose.

And doing this:

sitting on exercise ball at work

I've been sitting on an exercise ball while I work. It's supposed to help with pelvic positioning.

And, for good measure, a little of this:

Yoga Inversion - Hand Stand

Down Baby. Down. I kid, I kid. Get it. Baby. Kid.

A few more things that are supposed to help with fetal positioning and can even help turn some breech babies:

  • Swimming – especially the breast stroke
  • Alternative therapies like chiropractic care for pelvic alignment or acupuncture. Both can help turn a baby and pelvic alignment can help with shortening labor.
  • Yoga, yoga, yoga
  • Focusing on pelvic alignment and doing exercises that support this
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