There are all kinds of babies. Every little human is different and unique, just like their mommies and daddies and just like their births! But, there is one ideal position for baby to be born in. Head down, back to mama's tummy: also called Occiput Anterior (OA) position. Most babies start labor in Left OA, with their bodies slightly toward the left in mama's tummy.
Starting in LOA is the easiest for baby and mama during labor and delivery because the crown of the head, the most easily molded part of the head, enters the pelvis first, and the body is at a good angle to make an easy turn once the head is born. Other positions (Occiput Posterior, breech) can make delivery much more difficult and prolonged and lead to the need for unwanted interventions.
If you are pregnant, you're probably thinking, "Well that's great, but isn't this all out of my control?" Some of it is, but believe it or not, there are things that you can do in pregnancy, especially as you near the due date, that can encourage baby into an optimal position using gravity and opening space in your pelvis. Here are just a few ideas:
•Check how you sit. Place a small pillow under your buttocks in your desk chair and car seat to encourage the pelvis into a more forward position. Avoid curving and collapsing your lower back into the back of the chair or couch.
•Use a birth ball or exercise ball. Sit on one, legs wide and leaning slightly forward, while you work or watch tv.
•Squats. With your legs wider than hip width apart and toes slightly turned out, if you're able, sink all the way down so your bum hangs toward the floor. Keep your spine tall and press hands together, and elbows against your knees for support, or try brushing your teeth in your squat twice a day. This is a great pelvis opener and releases tight lower back muscles. If you need some support, take your partner's hands as they stand in front of you, or hang on to a doorknob.
•Cat and cow. On hands and knees with hands directly under shoulders, exhale and round your back, letting your head relax down. On the inhale come to a neutral spine or gently arch your back, letting your tailbone and heart drift up and your navel relax down. Repeat a few times with your breath.
•Hands and knees. Spend some quality time on the floor, reading a magazine (or perusing the internet on your iPad since you're going to anyway). Or, if the nesting urge hits, scrub those floors til they shine!
•Walk, swim, dance. Make time several times a week to move your body, however is most inspiring and fun to you. Go for an evening stroll or hit the gym for a zumba class (just be gentle with yourself and make any recommended modifications!). The more time you spend up and at 'em, and the less sitting, the better. Bonus: you'll increase your strength and stamina for labor!
•Do the hula. No, seriously. Let it go and shake your hips. Do it for a minute at a time a few times a day and wiggle that baby into the right place! Here's some youtube inspiration.
During labor, moving around as much as possible and changing positions often can help a baby move to a better position if needed. Your doula or practitioner can guide you.
For more ideas and information about fetal positioning, here are a few links:
I'm Katie. Owner and operator of Daisy Doula birth services, wife, mama, friend, singer, cook, amateur photographer, and a PNW gal born and raised. Here I explore birth, motherhood, and beauty in the daily humdrum.